Smith lost to Clark University in a cliffhanger match 3-6 on October 6 on the road.
The newly formed doubles team got off to a slow start giving Clark a 3-0 lead. The doubles were reconfigured because Sam Peikes was not able to play due to academic conflict. Sam normally anchors number 1 doubles with Margaret Anne Smith and number 3 singles. The 0-3 loss seemed, at first, to carry into singles as Noa Dubin dropped her first set 0-6 at first singles and Janan Fugel was down 1-4 at third singles while Morgan Barney was about to lose her first set at 4th singles.
There were glimmers of hope here and there as Annina van Riper entered the lineup at number 6 singles and seemed to take charge early on leading 5-2 in the first set. Margaret Anne Smith, in her steady, mentally strong way, worked her magic completely derailing and frustrating her opponent with her calm demeanor and her consistency. At this point, everything seemed to change. Smith began to believe they could compete with Clark and compete they did. The singles players gave their heart and soul to the fight. Margaret Anne was first off the court with her victory followed by Janan, who came back from being down 1-4 in the first set to winning in straight sets. Noa seemed to reflect the change and got in the fight turning a corner and coming back to power her way to a second set win even though she ended up dropping the third set 3-6. Annina van Riper stayed determined and consistent and brought in a big win in a close two-setter at 6th singles ending in a tiebreak victory. Morgan Barney and Joanna Kim, at four and five singles respectively , left it all on court, losing only after three long hard-fought sets that left them exhausted.
The match was in the balance until the very end. With their backs against the wall, Smith showed their grit and determination and belief in themselves and their team. The Pioneers came close to changing the history books. It was a match that could have gone either way and there was no way of knowing until the very end. It was truly the most exciting match of the season as Smith finished after 10pm at Clark.
Smith travels to MIT on Saturday, Oct 10 for the last dual match of the fall season.