Women’s tennis bested by DePauw in third matchup of season
The rubber match between the Washington University and DePauw women’s tennis teams did not go quite the way the Bears were hoping.
Despite a good start in doubles, the No. 11 Bears were tripped up by No. 12 DePauw, dropping a 5-4 contest on Saturday morning at the Tao Tennis Center.
The two teams had already played twice this season, with DePauw taking a 7-2 win on March 4 and Wash. U. winning a 5-4 contest on April 7. The teams, sporting identical 13-6 records and sitting right next to each other in the national rankings, are clearly matched somewhat evenly, and perhaps it was fitting that the third match between them ended in the closest possible score for the second time this year.
“We beat them 5-4, and I think their lineup was pretty similar, and our girls were really stepping up,” head coach Kelly Stahlhuth said, referring to the win on April 7. “[It] was a tough one. We’d have liked to have beat them at home. Our consistency of play was a little bit off.”
The Bears got out to a strong start in doubles thanks to junior Kate Klein and sophomore Corinne Rauck’s 9-8(5) win at top doubles and sophomore Theresa Petraskova and senior Natalie Tingir’s 8-4 win at second doubles. Junior Paige Madara and sophomore Betsy Edershile dropped third doubles, 8-2, keeping the Bears’ lead at only one match.
“We’ve had to change things up after spring break, and I think the girls are doing really, really well,” Stahlhuth said. “They’ve handled the change well. We had to make some new pairings. The thing we need to find, we just have to find all three pairings playing solid at the same time. We’ve just got to bring that into next weekend at the [University Athletic Association Championships].”
But DePauw, needing a majority of the wins in singles to take the contest, got just that. Tingir won top singles in straight sets (6-3, 6-0), as did Petraskova at third singles (6-1, 6-1); but the Tigers managed to take second singles and all of the last three matches of the day to rally and take the match. Klein (6-4, 6-1 at second singles), Madara (6-3, 6-1 at fourth singles), Edershile [6-2, 7-6(4) at fifth singles] and Rauck (6-1, 6-2 at sixth singles) all went down in straight sets.
“That was hard. We were able to play really solid in two matches, and in the other four, they were in straight sets…I still don’t have an answer for that one, but we’re just trying to have all six of us going out on the singles court.”
The matches were the final ones for the Bears before the UAA championships, which will begin on Friday. Wash. U. enters as the fourth-highest ranked team in the UAA and will know its seeding before the tournament begins.
But with three other conference teams ranked in the top six nationally, Wash. U. knows it will be facing a challenge.
“If we can get through the first round and the second round and all of that…every match is going to be really hard,” Stahlhuth said. “There will be no easy matches next weekend. And we don’t want any easy matches, because if we win, we progress. If we don’t win, then it’s a little different. But that’s what we need.”