Now in my third year at Whitman, we have squared off against Linfield 7 times, and while this match ended up with the widest margin of victory for either team, I think we're again neck and neck with each other in the NWC, but we were edged out by a good team yesterday.
|Alyssa Serving vs. LCSC|
With no less intensity, but a different feel than any of the previous times we've played, each team came out all business and all 3 doubles were close from the first ball. After going up 5-4 at #2, they ran off a great stretch of play to take the early lead despite Emily and Kate staying at a high level. Down early at #1 in a rematch of the Fall ITA final, Elise and Alyssa stepped up their tennis to pull ahead. Meanwhile, down 7-6 at #3, a key point in the match where we had to break to stay in it brought out the best in Hannah and Lizzy; as they took command with a great blend of offense and defense, Hannah went back for a ball at 15-30 and rolled her ankle. Lizzy got the next one back and we won the point, but after a medical timeout to assess and tape her sprain, Hannah was super tough and not only continued but put away an overhead to secure the break. Linfield quickly broke back and held for the 9-7 win as Elise and Alyssa secured a point with some great doubles winning 8-6 against a very good team at #1.
Elise has been playing terrific tennis, but at #1 Abby Olbrich came out very steady and strong in the first set. Twitch dug in in set 2 and was serving at 4-4 when Abby got a break and hold to take the match. About half way though that, Alyssa was already off at #2 blanking Linfield's new transfer 0 and 0. What was really impressive was that ShoPo displayed tremendous consistent focus and a tactical maturity that has me really excited about her game.
3,4,5 were all huge battles with Linfield edging us in each one. Emily just couldn't quite get the upper hand at #3 but fought into a tie break which her opponent really stepped up in. The second set was also incredibly close and well played by both players to the final ball. Em is also finding that plays which used to come and go are now consistently a part of her arsenal. Kate came out firing going up a set and 4-1. To her credit she didn't let up, though I think she'll learn from the comeback that was waged against her as she lost in a hard fought third set. #5 was an interesting match with Lizzy winning the first and then falling in three. At #6 Hadley Scherer took the ball against an experienced Sarah Watanabe. The first set went quickly as Hadley looked to find her way into the match, which she did much better in the second using her improved serve and great focus to push the Linfield senior who eventually won 6-0, 6-2. Maggie scored us an impressive exhibition winning one set 6-3 over junior Kiana Nip. Maggie was very composed as she used her placement really well and controlled many of the backcourt rallies.
It was a tough loss, but this team is so positive and has so many bright spots that it truly was an enjoyable battle. It was great to travel and continue to enjoy being around each other and it was wonderful to have Arlene Roberg and the Leah's family supporting us. Thanks so much for your help and support and for the great brunch Kris and Mike!
We look forward to our next matches which come this weekend as we host UPS at 4pm on Friday and defending NWC champ Whitworth at 1pm on Saturday. This is our family and alumni weekend which I have some events planned, so please send me an email if you plan on being here as we'd love to spend some time with you.