Women’s tennis gets signature win over Chicago

| Sports Reporter

One week after falling to conference and regional rival University of Chicago at the end of a busy weekend in Madison, Wis., the Washington University women’s tennis team came home and got some revenge—and, along with it, its biggest win of the spring season.

The No. 10 Bears jumped out to a 2-1 lead over No. 7 UChicago in doubles and managed to split singles, picking up a 5-4 win on Saturday afternoon.

“We haven’t been in the top 10 in a really long time, and it’s been one of our team goals,” freshman Jamie Silverberg said. “[With this win,] we’re just one step closer to one of our biggest goals.”

The win moved the Bears to 12-5 overall, and they’ve won six of their last seven matches.

“We knew we lost to them last Saturday, and we were like, ‘OK, we can work a little bit this week and be ready, and we can take them down,” head coach Kelly Stahlhuth said. “I’m very happy for them. They worked hard, and they’re a team that doesn’t quit.”

A week earlier, the teams played indoors, and the match was the third in two days for the Bears. This time around, it was the only match of the weekend for Wash. U., which was in its own friendly confines at the Tao Tennis Center.

“[UChicago is] a very strong team indoors, and I thought that being outside would help a little bit. They’re a very hard-hitting team, and with some elements, they can’t hit the lines as well,” Stahlhuth said.

Wash. U. got off to a quick start in doubles, taking the second and third flights to bring a 2-1 lead into singles. The team got an immediate boost with the return of Silverberg, who missed the previous weekend’s match with an injury. Silverberg and freshman Aly Coran won the third match 8-4 while sophomore Hanna Newstadt and junior Theresa Petraskova took second doubles 8-6.

“We just mesh so well together,” Coran said about having her usual partner back. “We get along well, on and off the court, and that just makes it easier and more fluid, but it’s nice having my partner back, obviously.”

In the shift to singles, the Bears got just enough to clinch the win, picking up wins at the second, fourth and sixth flights. Silverberg took second singles easily, winning 6-2, 6-1. Senior Paige Madara staged a pair of comebacks in the second set of sixth singles, coming back from down 5-2 in games and then rallying from down 4-1 in the tiebreaker to win the match 6-2, 7-6 (8-6).

Coran’s win in the fourth position was the clincher and one that necessitated a comeback as well. She was down 4-1 and 5-3 in the match’s first set before coming back to win 7-5 and missed out on two match points up 5-4 in the second set before closing it out with a score of 7-5.

“It’s such a great feeling being the clinching match, knowing that your win was the one that got you the win for the full team,” Coran said. “It just feels good that I can be able to contribute for myself but also for the whole team.”

The win was the best win of the spring for the team, and it gave the Bears an extra boost mentally, which they say helps with conference championships coming up in two weeks.

“This weekend just gives us the confidence that we can play with these top-ranked teams, and it gives us the confidence to go into [University Athletic Association Championships] and know that we have the depth and the ability to beat these top teams,” Silverberg said. “We pulled out this win because of hard work, and we’re using it, and we know that what we’ve been doing is right.”

Wash. U. will return to the courts again Webster University at home on Tuesday afternoon.

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