A small crowd of sun-loving, hand-clapping spectators cheered Radcliffe's undefeated varsity tennis team to a 5-0 shutout over Brandeis yesterday afternoon in Radcliffe's first home match.
In the opening match, freshman Denise Thal outplayed Brandeis's Brenda Schaffer, 7-6, 6-3. The victory was a sweet one for Thal because her opponent was rated second in the 18-and-under singles competition last spring by the New England section of the United States Lawn Tennis Association.
Thal continually drove Schaffer all over the court with well-placed shots, often forcing her opponent into making off-balanced, high-lobbing returns which Thal converted into carefully-angled shallow shots that Schaffer couldn't manage to reach.
"The clay courts are much slower than the hard courts and I had to concentrate on placing the ball where Schaffer couldn't return it," Thal said yesterday. "She wasn't coming up to the net so I took advantage of her with short drop shots."
Thal's cool precision took its toll on Schaffer in the second set as Schaffer lost her poise and continually double-faulted in crucial situations.
In the second singles match, captain Lissa Muscatine outgunned Brandeis's Jinny St. Goar, 6-1, 7-5.
"It was a power game," Betty Lincoln, Radcliffe's coach, said yesterday. "They tried to outstroke each other and Lissa was more consistent with her smashing shots."
In the other singles match, Suki Magraw easily demolished Brandeis's Sue Landow, 6-2, 6-1, and extended her undefeated streak to three matches.
In the doubles competition, Cathy Agoos and Maude Wood teamed up to defeat Brandeis's Haft-Aerenson number one combination, 6-2, 6-3.
In the second match, Radcliffe's Cheryl Gelzer and Rita Funaro fought back from a 5-7 deficit to win in three sets. With the second set knotted, 6-6, Gelzer and Funaro won five straight points to capture the tiebreaker and carried the momentum over into the final set to win in eight games.
The victory assures Radcliffe of its first winning season in three years. "In the past, the team hasn't been able to put its potential together, and that's the difference this year," Agoos, the only senior on the team, said yesterday. "It's great to play on a winning team."