Netwomen Drop Final Match As Dartmouth Dominates, 9-0
Libby Pierpont described it best. "We got zonked," and that just about says it all, as the racquetwomen from Dartmouth whitewashed the Crimson 9-0 yesterday afternoon in Palmer Dixon.
The big match turned into a big flop as the Big Green swept both the singles and doubles contests without losing a set. That's right, not even one set.
Dartmouth's version of the fearsome foursome (Wendell, Awad, Banholzer and Hibbart) were awesome indeed. Jody Awad dispatched Pierpont quickly in the second slot, 6-2, 6-2, while number three Pam Banholzer defeated Meg Meyer in similar fashion.
Alison Hibbart, fourth, sent the Crimson's Sally Roberts to the showers early, blasting her 6-1, 6-0.
Martha Roberts, Harvard's top seed, did put some kinks into the Green rampage. Roberts' effective use of the lob and her steady volleying fell just a tiebreaker short of capturing the second set in her match with the leader of the Dartmouth pack, Thayer Wendell.
Roberts spotted Wendell the first set, losing 6-2, before warming up and getting into the match. The second set was even all the way, with Roberts ending up on the wrong side of a 5-3 tiebreaker.
Martha Roberts came back in the doubles with her sister Sally to threaten the Dartmouth sweep once more. Playing the team of Awad and Wendell for the third time and as many losses, the Roberts duo was "really fired up," according to Coach Peter Felske.
The Robertses were up 5-4, but Awad and Wendell, the Seven Sisters Trophy winners, took three consecutive games to grab the initial set. In the second stanza, the Robertses fell behind 4-1 and could never quite recover. They made a run for it, pulling to 4-3, but the Dartmouth squad proved too tough as they notched the next two games to close out the match.
Martha Roberts was pleased with her play, despite the disappointing losses. "I think I played well and that's a good way to close out the season," she said.
In the number five singles competition, Harvard's Leslie Miller was breadsticked and bageled by Muffie Rogers. Patty Wen, competing due to the illness of Katie Ditzler, dropped to Nancy Denny in the sixth position, 6-3, 6-4.
Rounding out the matches, Meyer and Miller teamed up at the second doubles, losing to Banholzer and Hibbart four and two. Pierpont and Wen, playing together for the first time this year, also succumbed 6-4, 6-2.
"It's too bad we had to play a team this good in reading period," Pierpont said. "It's hard to get motivated for a match with academic pressures bothering you," she added.
The Crimson closes out its season with a 7-4 record for the spring and an impressive 5-0 mark in the fall, including the GBC trophy and the Massachusetts state title. Felske noted that "this is the first year that Harvard women's tennis has really been recognized and taken seriously." "We've improved a lot this year and we're going to get even better," he added.
It has been a learning year for the women's tennis program. The new coach and the young players all need experience before Harvard can hope to beat the best. This fall showed how far the women's tennis program has come, and the spring, with its decisive losses to Yale and Dartmouth, indicate how much farther there still is to go.