Women’s tennis: Bears unable to complete upset

| Senior Sports Editor

Washington University’s women’s tennis team will have to wait for another shot at DePauw University after falling 5-4 on Saturday.

The No. 11 Tigers are a familiar foe for the No. 15 Bears as they knocked out Wash. U. by the same score in the second round of the NCAA Tournament last year. The Red and Green are currently not scheduled to face DePauw again in the regular season.

Wash. U. faced trouble early on as each doubles duo fell to their opponents. Junior Karina Kocemba and freshman Kate Klein, playing together for only the second time, fell 8-1 at No. 1 doubles. Despite the loss, Kocemba is optimistic. “We’ve meshed really well together,” Kocemba said. “I’m loving it…and I think we can only get better.”

Adding to the Bears difficulty were a 8-4 loss by sophomore Natalie Tingir and senior captain Allison Dender at No. 3 doubles and a close 8-6 defeat by juniors Elise Sambol and Jaclyn Bild.

Despite the 3-0 deficit, the conclusion of the match was not foregone. “We had to regroup,” Coach Kelly Stahlhuth said. “We were kind of in shock. We didn’t have much time. We just got back to work.” Last weekend, doubles was the strongest component of play with the Bears sweeping Case Western Reserve. This weekend, singles nearly saved the day.

The wins started trickling in for Wash. U. in singles play as junior Karina Kocemba rolled over Greer Mackie in straight sets at No. 3 singles and sophomore Natalie Tingir downed Tricia Wilks 6-1, 6-3 at No. 4 singles. Freshman Kate Klein overcame a 2-6 loss to Kelly Gebert with scores of 6-3, 6-0 to net another Wash. U. point at No. 2 singles. “We came out ready for singles,” Kocemba said. “Everybody wanted to bounce back. We are just as good as their team. We’ve shown that we can come back from being down.”

The Red and Green rally began losing steam as junior Jaclyn Bild was blanked at No. 1 singles by Janelle Arita. But another hard fought battle between junior Elise Sambol and Courtney Ulrich resulted in Sambol’s 7-6 (7-4), 4-6, 6-2 triumph and gave hope for a Wash. U. upset. The upset attempt was short lived as captain senior Allison Dender fell 6-4, 6-4 at No. 6 singles, sealing the Bears second loss in a row.

The women’s tennis team takes a break next weekend before heading to Sewanee, Tenn. to take on the University of the South on March 6. “We’re going to play a wide range of teams, in and out of our division,” Kocemba said. “It’ll get us going strong into the full season…hopefully it will get us some matches underneath our belts.”

The match will be the first of five during Spring Break. “We just have to put it all together singles and doubles from no. 1 all the way down to doubles 3,” Stahlhuth said. “It’ll be a good test for us hopefully.”