The Radcliffe tennis team, paced by sophomore captain Lissa Muscatine and freshman Denise Thal, stroked its way to a third-place tie in the prestigious Seven Sister Ivy League Invitational Tournament held this weekend at Smith College.
About 60 women from ten schools started play on Saturday, and when the last volley had thundered on Sunday afternoon, the 'Cliffe team found itself tied with Mt. Holyoke behind Brown and first-place Princeton.
Most of Radcliffe's points were earned by Thal and Muscatine, the Cliffe's top two singles players. Conceding the singles to Princeton and to Yale's Lisa Rosenblum, the two combined forces to thump three opponents before bowing to a talented Princeton duo, 6-1, 6-0, in the doubles final.
Fourth-seeded, the 'Cliffe tandem started slowly on Saturday, struggling to subdue a pesky entry from Cornell, 3-6, 6-4, 6-1. But a practice session between matches paid dividends as Thal and Muscatine rebounded to thrash Smith, 6-3, 6-1.
The Radcliffe pair continued its steady play in yesterday morning's semifinal, dumping Princeton's second team in straight sets, 6-3, 6-2. But in the afternoon final, they didn't have the firepower to stay with Princeton's nationally-ranked Louise Gengler and Mo Curran.
"After the first match on Saturday, we played very well," Muscatine said yesterday. "We weren't making many mistakes, were aggressive, and put away our opponents' bad shots."
"We continued to play well in the finals, but just got creamed," Thal added.
Radcliffe's second doubles entry, sophomore Maude Wood and freshman Sukie Magraw, encountered few problems in disposing of a Smith team, 6-3, 6-2, in the first round. They then stung the third-seeded Havemeyer-Mercer duo from Yale with a come-from-behind 7-5, 6-1 victory. Trailing, 5-2, in the first set, the pair regrouped and swept the next five games. They easily ran out the next set to take the match.
Magraw and Wood, though, ran out of winners in their third match of the day and had to swallow a tough 6-3, 6-3 quarterfinal loss to Brown.
Radcliffe's lone singles entry in the tournament, sophomore Cheryl Gelzer, came up on the short end of a 6-1, 6-0, first-round match with Mt. Holyoke's number one player Abbe Wise.
The team will conclude its highly successful season this afternoon at Wheaton against a solid Wheaton seven. Radcliffe is in quest of its tenth consecutive dual meet victory