Sunday, April 5, 2015

Smith Triumphs 5-4 in Cliffhanger Match

Smith Tennis hosted Colby-Sawyer on Friday, April 3 on the indoor courts.  The  Pioneers  outlasted the Chargers 5-4 with a dramatic finish at sixth singles.

Both teams were sans number 1 players for separate reasons but it did not deter the enthusiasm and fortitude of  either team. Colby-Sawyer took the early lead in doubles play at 1 and 2 doubles in a hard hitting contest. Number 3 doubles of Smith veteran Seema Samawi and first year, Anja Block, held on to take three doubles. It was 2-1 for the Chargers going into singles play.   Was Smith prepared and ready for the challenge?  It would remain to be seen as the Chargers clung to the lead for the majority of the match. The first singles to finish was Seema at number 4 singles. She gave her "all" in doubles and was forced to retire at 2-2 in the first set. Smith now had their backs against the wall with a 1-3 deficit when Sam Peikes and Margaret Anne Smith rose to the occassion with decisive wins at number 2 and 3 singles respectively.  The match score was now tied at 3-3.  Colby-Sawyer's number 1, Ashley Woodside, quickly stole the lead back for CS by defeating Kelli Cheung in straight sets.  With the two matches remaining , Colby Sawyer had a 4-3 lead putting pressure on Smith to win at both 5 and 6 singles in order to claim the win. Ruth Yi was undaunted by the challenge as she rallied her way with patience to a 6-3, 6-3 win bringing the score to 4-4. The lone deciding match was number 6 singles, Badriyyah Al-Sabah. Could this sophomore in her first ever singles collegiate match come through for Smith?  All of those in attendance were on the edge of their seats and all eyes were on this talented athlete from Kuwait. She dug deep to answer each and every shot she received. Patient, albeit nervous, Badriyyah ran down wide balls, pulled her opponent to the side and hit carefully constructed passing shots past her to secure a 6-0, 6-1 victory!  The smile on Badriyyah's face at the end of the match said it all. Smith edged out a victory over a team that has dominated Smith the last two years.  Congratulations to the Smith Pioneers on a hard fought win over a formidable opponent.

Smith will host the historic Seven Sisters' Championship on April 11 and 12. The biggest question may be whether the tornament will be outside. Spring is coming!