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The Harvard women's tennis team missed all the Dartmouth festivities while they were way up in Mount Holyoke this weekend, but they have a big, shiny trophy to show for their pains and the title as Massachusetts State Women's Intercollegiate Tennis Champions.
Winning both the second singles division and the doubles competition, the Crimson finished on top of the 19-school field with 12 points (the same total with which they clinched the Greater Boston tourney just a week ago). Boston University and Springfield College placed second and third, scoring ten and eight respectively. Ever-present Wellesley pulled in six victory points to grab the fourth position.
Libby Pierpont captured the second singles crown as she moved easily through an outclassed field without dropping a set. Mary Antinellis of Boston State took seven games off Pierpont in the opening round, 6-4, 6-3, matching Pierpont's losses in the rest of the tournament.
Pierpont, a freshman, then cooked an MIT hopeful breadstick and bagel, and outsteadied Barbara Arvanitis from Springfield at the baseline, winning three and one in the semifinals. In the finals, Pierpont cruised by B.U.'s Lida Prypchon, giving up only one game in each set.
The unseeded, newly created doubles duo of veterans Sally Roberts and Katie Ditzler waltzed into the finals. After doing a love-love dance through their opponents from the University of Lowell in the first round, Ditzler and Roberts conceded three games to the Northeastern combo of Inec and Tilley, 6-0, 6-3.
That got them to the semifinals against the Peterson twins from Wellesley. It was Roberts's third win in a little over a week against that particular sister team, when the Harvard squad whitewashed their slow-starting foes.
After dropping the first set of the finale, 5-7, Ditzler--playing in argyle socks--and partner Roberts took charge of the match, gaining the offensive with strong net play. Their volleying proved to be the undoing of Ranz and Minaai of UMass.
Freshman Martha Roberts, playing number one singles as she has throughout the season, advanced to the semifinals with her serve and volley game, before falling to the eventual champion, Robin Rich of Springfield, 6-0, 6-2. Roberts eliminated UMass' Cathy Maher, the fifth ranking woman in Canada, in the second round, four and two, after defeating the Worcester Polytech entry, 6-2, 6-0, in her opener.
"The competition was really close," Coach Peter Felske said. "In fact, if Sally and Katie hadn't come through in the second set we would have only tied for first place." He added that the doubles final was the most exciting match of the tournament. "All four of the players were volleying at the net and that's not often seen in women's competition at any level."
This Tuesday the women in white hope to tune up on Tufts before leaving for Amherst and the New England regionals on Friday. There they will be competing against such perennial tennis powers as Trinity, Williams and Yale.
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