The Radcliffe varsity tennis team, playing without the services of injured singles player Diana Olney, relied on its veteran doubles teams to pull off a clutch 6-3 victory over Dartmouth yesterday on the wind-blown Soldiers Field courts.
The match was much closer than the score indicates. After six singles matches, the teams were knotted at three apiece--and during the early part of the doubles matches it looked like the 'Cliffe net-women were about to drop only their second match this season.
But some gritty performances by the experienced duos turned the tide for the Crimson. Appropriately, Captain Lissa Muscatine and number one singles player Denise Thal beat Thayer Wendell and Vicki Austin 6-0 and 7-6 for the 'Cliffe's fifth and match-clinching victory.
"We were down 4-1 in the second set, but all of a sudden we started clicking. We didn't want to play another set," Thal said after the match.
Earlier, steady Sally Roberts and Rita Funaro created a little stir themselves at second doubles, pulling out a hard-fought three-set victory in darkening conditions. Having lost the first set, 3-6, the veteran duo regrouped to snatch the next two sets, 6-3 and 6-2.
Victory was particularly sweet for Thal. Earlier, she lost her first singles match to Wendell, 2-6 and 3-6.
For Captain Muscatine, the doubles victory was her second tie-breaking effort of the day. Playing at third singles, she won a 5-3 tie-breaking game to take the second set, 7-6, after a 6-3 first set.
Both Funaro and Roberts also won their singles matches. Freshman Roberts, now 6-1 on the season, wore down Nancy Denay, 6-1, 6-3 with a strong net game. Funaro, who says she can "hit all day on clay," breezed by Karen Loeffer, 6-3, 6-1.
Olney, who normally plays at number 4 singles, has been bothered by back problems during the last few matches, is scheduled to undergo back surgery next week and is not expected to play again this season.
Her absence hurt the 'Cliffe netwomen yesterday. Funaro and Andrea Okamura both had to move up a notch on the ladder to make room for Olney's replacement, Ann Koufman. While Funaro won, both Okamura (6-1, 2-6, 6-1) and Koufman (4-6, 6-4, 6-1) dropped tight matches.