Despite numerous home games during Homecoming weekend, other teams competed on the road. The women’s tennis team participated in the three-day long ITA Regional Championships, hosted by Williams. Six Jumbos — freshmen Lauren Louks, Aandrita Deb and Zoe Miller, and sophomores Conner Calabro, Alexa Meltzer and Chelsea Hayashi — played in both the singles and the doubles bracket of the tournament, which lasted from Friday to Sunday.
The standout performance of the weekend came from Deb who won four matches in the 64-person bracket, landing in the semifinals before falling to seventh-seeded Juli Raventos of host team Williams. Nevertheless, a top-four finish from Deb laid the foundation for a potentially great season. On Friday, she defeated Babson freshman Jenny Quenard by a score of 6-0, 6-3, and then later in the day prevailed 7-5, 6-4 against a tough challenge from Middlebury sophomore Kaysee Orozco.
“I think [Deb’s] success has a huge impact on the team because she represents the school when she gets to the semifinals,” Calabro said. “She is showing the other schools that Tufts has strong, impact players [who are] good enough to advance to the final four.”
Deb’s strong weekend continued in the Round of 16 on Saturday morning when she faced off with fifth-seeded Melita Ferjanic of Trinity. The match went back and forth, with Ferjanic winning the first set 6-2 and Deb winning the next set by the same score. Ultimately, Deb fought off Ferjanic in the third set, winning 6-4 and earning a spot in the quarterfinals. Waiting for her there was Vickie Ip of Amherst and the two played what was quite possibly the best match of the tournament, featuring two tiebreakers that went beyond the conventional seven points. Deb won the first set 7-6 (9-7), and Ip won the second set by an identical score. A spot in the semifinals was one set away for each player, and Deb was able to outlast her Lord Jeff opponent, winning the third set by a score of 6-2. Deb ultimately lost in the semifinals to the Ephs’ Raventos by a score of 6-4, 6-2.
“We are all so excited that [Deb] got so far in the tournament,” Louks said. “It’s awesome to have one of the best girls in Division III on our team.”
Although no other Tufts players reached the quarterfinals, Louks was able to win two matches to earn a spot in the round of 16. She beat Jordin Dubin of Smith College by a score of 6-1, 6-0 in the first round and followed that dominant performance with a 6-3, 6-3 win over MIT freshman Sonya Das. In the round of 16, however, Louks faced Raventos, who easily won the match 6-2, 6-2 on the way to her finals appearance.
“The biggest challenge against [Raventos] was probably missing my serve,” Louks said. “When I would miss my serve my confidence was lower.”
The rest of the Jumbos did not fare as well. Calabro gave a valiant effort but ended up losing in the first round to Nicole McCann of Wesleyan, 5-7, 6-4, 10-4. Meltzer lost in the first round to third-seed and eventual champion Linda Shin of Williams 6-0, 6-0. Hayashi lost to Williams freshman Giulia McDonnell Nieto del Rio by a score of 6-0, 6-1. Miller won her first match against Sarah Monteagudo of Amherst on Friday by a score of 7-5, 6-4, but lost to second-seed Elysa Kohrs of MIT in the second round 6-0, 6-1.
This was the first tournament of the season for the Jumbos, and despite the results, Calabro believes the tournament was a good experience for the team.
“I think the team chemistry progressed tremendously over the weekend,” she said. “Spending every moment together from Thursday night to Sunday afternoon is a lot of time. The long van rides together, the early morning wake-ups, pre-match nerves, post-match relief — we really were there for each other at the best and worst of times.”
The team will have plenty of opportunities to gain experience and learn from mistakes, starting today at Babson. If this weekend was any indication, the team chemistry is increasing and the team is having more fun
“The team chemistry is really good this year,” Louks said. “We have a small team of 8 players this year which makes us all super close.”