Under the burden of rained-out schedules, which led to matches lasting long after midnight, the men’s and women’s tennis teams persevered this weekend in the North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC) tournament. The Lords won their 10th consecutive NCAC championship while the Ladies finished second to Denison University (14-7, NCAC 3-0).
The Ladies faced Wittenberg University (5-17, 0-3) in their first-round match-up, defeating the Tigers in just five matches. They won all three of the doubles matches and gained a point at the sixth singles spot by walkover, meaning no Wittenberg player was available to play. Grace Winslow ’18 got the final win for the Ladies as she breezed by her opponent 6-0, 6-0. The win propelled the Ladies into the semi-finals of the tournament, pitting them against 23rd-nationally ranked DePauw University (11-11, 2-1).
Thanks to rain delays, the Ladies’ second-round match against DePauw moved to Kenyon’s indoor Jasper Courts and did not begin until 10:30 p.m. on Saturday night. The two played sets until 4:00 a.m. With about 40 dedicated spectators in the balcony for the late night, the Ladies beat fatigue and the Tigers in a match-up electric enough to keep the fans cheering and whistling into the small hours of the morning.
Coming out of doubles play, the Ladies trailed 1-2, only winning in the third doubles position with a team of Diana Aboubakare ’18 and Jenna Murray ’17. In singles play, the Ladies turned the match around by winning four games to end the match 5-3. Aboubakare won again, defeating her opponent in the first singles position and further bolstering her personal record at the first singles spot, 14-7.
Finally, the Ladies traveled back to Granville, Ohio on Sunday to face Denison, the first seed in the tournament and ranked 22nd nationally. The match remained close throughout. After doubles play the Ladies fell behind 1-2, again only winning in the third spot with Aboubakare and Murray.
In singles play, the Ladies and The Big Red came to an even 4-4, and only the fourth singles match remained.
Samantha Murphy ’16 put up a strong fight against her opponent, but Denison prevailed 7-5, 6-4. Overall, the Ladies had a strong season ending with a record of 15-10, a national ranking of 27th and a regional ranking of sixth. Aboubakare will compete in the national NCAA Division III singles competition as a result of her outstanding play this season.
“This weekend was a tough loss for us, but I think after taking a step back we can all agree that we had a very successful season,” Elise Altschuler ’16 said. “As a senior I am feeling very good about the position we are leaving the team in.”
The Lords played their first-round match against the College of Wooster (10-16, 0-4). The match ended quickly as the Lords won five of their first six games, which easily propelled them into the semi-finals of the tournament.
The Lords next faced Oberlin College (15-9, 3-1) and prevailed in a 5-1 win, landing them a spot in the finals of the NCAC Tournament.
The Lords met 32nd-nationally ranked Denison University (13-7, 2-1) in the finals but seemed unphased as they again clinched the match 5-1, leaving the second, third and fourth singles matches unfinished. With this conference championship win, the Lords secured their bid in the NCAA Tournament, set to begin in two weeks. They ended their season with a record of 12-9, a national ranking of 17th, a regional ranking of sixth and as NCAC champions for the 10th year in a row.