Yeowomen Can’t Get By Northwestern Ohio


Effie Kline-Salamon

First-year Jackie McDermott lunges to hit the ball in a match against the Ashland University Eagles on Feb. 25. The Yeowomen play their next match at home on Saturday, March 14 against the John Carroll University Blue Streaks.

Owen Mittenthal

The women’s tennis team was unable to knock off National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics foe the University of Northwestern Ohio Racers, falling in a close 5–4 match last Saturday. Despite claiming victories in the top singles and doubles spots, the Yeowomen were ultimately unable to clinch wins in the subsequent flights. Senior captain Grace Porter won in the No. 1 top singles flight 6–4, 6–1, and was joined by first-year Sarah Hughes to pull off the No. 1 doubles win 8–5.

Head Coach Constantine Ananiadis highlighted the positive aspects of the team’s performance, saying that the Yeowomen are learning to handle adversity in matches as it comes.

“We are getting better at problem-solving and adjusting tactically to situations,” said Ananiadis in an email to the Review. “We still have a ways to go, but we’re way ahead of where we were a month ago.”

First-year Jackie McDermott, who played both doubles and singles on Saturday, echoed Ananiadis’ sentiment regarding the importance of making speedy mental adjustments.

“I think we’ve had to step up our mental and emotional game in order to make sure that we’re always focused and always strategizing in the moment,” she said. “I just really want to evolve my strategy.”

The Yeowomen came out on the losing side of doubles competition, heading into the latter half of the competition trailing 2–1. Junior Erin Johnson and sophomore Emma Brezel dropped an 8–4 decision to opponents Valeria Popko and Ana Lacerda in their doubles match. McDermott and sophomore Olivia Hay couldn’t keep up with their competition either, falling 8–6.

“Playing No. 1 doubles as a freshman is really exciting,” Hughes said. “Grace and I played a pretty solid match. [Our opponents] were really aggressive players, so we took their pace and sort of used that against them.”

The score after doubles competition ultimately proved to be the margin of defeat for the Yeowomen, as they split the singles matches 3–3. Porter took the No. 1 game home, and Johnson and junior Ariana Abayomi both won their singles matches. However, Northwestern Ohio picked up wins over Brezel, McDermott and junior Alex Kahn to solidify its victory. Reflecting on the tight competition, Porter also stressed the gravity of overcoming adversity in tough matches.

“I think everybody was in a pretty difficult match,” Porter said. “I was in a really scrappy doubles match. Even if you’re not playing great, it’s really important in tennis to try to find a way to win.”

Looking ahead, the Yeowomen will compete in a doubleheader against John Carroll University and Findlay University at home next Saturday, March 14, followed by another match at Ohio Northern University on Sunday. Ananiadis said he has high expectations for the Yeowomen in the upcoming events.

“We always expect to win every time we step on the court, and these three matches coming up are very winnable,” he said. “They provide us with a good opportunity to practice closing out matches and to execute the things that we’ve been working on at practice.”

Further in the future, the team is already thinking about the bigger matches, such as the North Coast Athletic Conference championships in late April. McDermott said she will rely on the optimistic spirit to drive the team to conference playoffs.

“As a team, we’re really supportive of each other, and always really positive,” McDermott said. “So when it comes time for us to have really close matches at conferences, I’m looking forward to us still having that positive energy.”