Saturday, March 26, 2016

Simmons Returns To Smith For 7-2 Victory

Noa Dubin
It was a cold morning in Northampton as Simmons made their annual pilgrimage to Smith on March 26 for the dual tennis match with the Pioneers.  Smith is grateful for the willingness of the Sharks to come to the Pioneer Valley on a yearly basis but the "home court advantage" did not seem to help Smith as the Sharks won the match 7-2.

Both teams agreed to compete outdoors and play started with temperatures at 37 degrees.  The overcast cold day did not distract from the competitive spirit of the two squads.   The Smith third doubles winning combination of Janan Fugel and Morgan Barney defeated Ashley Chen and Mary Matthews 8-4 leaving Smith with a score of 1-2  going into the singles.

The singles looked strong for Smith at the start.  Noa Dubin took charge of her first singles match winning a flawless first set 6-0 but finding herself frustrated with her scrappy opponent, Theresa Reinhard.   Eventually Noa found herself behind and not able to gain her momentum losing both the second and third sets.  Samantha Peikes (number 2 singles) had a slow start but settled in and  began to handle the effective slice of Meghan Cokely as they started the second set.  It was not enough, however, and Sam took her 1-6, 4-6 loss with grace.  Joanna Kim's opponent, Katie Crowley,  was a "wall" according to Kim and missed few shots.  Joanna loves to play offensively and today she had to go all out in order to earn points against her consistent opponent but, as is often the case when forced to "win" every point outright, it is difficult to achieve offensive perfection.  Joanna had many more winners than her opponent but also found herself with more errors thus succumbing to Crowley 1-6, 2-6.  Morgan Barney still claims the most solid defensive game on the Smith squad but only defense is not good enough against a nationally ranked team and Morgan bowed to Rachel Downey 2-6, 2-6.  Janan Fugel stepped up with a variety of shots and executed good tactics but it was not enough to off set the 6-1, 6-2 victory for Simmon's Ashley Chen.  The lone singles win for the Pioneers was achieved by Alexandra Steck.  She patiently set up and finished points with a steady, poised and determined style defeating Ashley Pierce 6-2, 4-6, 6-1.  Alexandra is now 2-1 in singles play this spring.  The Pioneers are 1-2 and will host Colby-Sawyer on April 1 at 4pm.