Women’s tennis competes at ITA Regional Championships

9/16/17 – Medford/Somerville, MA – Junior Mina Karamercan forehands the ball at the MIT Invitational on Sept. 16. (Evan Sayles / The Tufts Daily)

The women’s tennis team, led by junior Mina Karamercan, continued its fall season at the ITA Regional Championships last weekend at Williams College.

Karamercan, seeded fifth in the tournament, progressed all the way to the quarterfinals in the 64-player field, winning her first match 6–0, 6–3 against Trinity sophomore Julia Brogan and her second over Amherst sophomore Jen Chen 6–2, 6–2. Karamercan then defeated Middlebury first-year Heather Boehm (6-4, 6-1) in the quarterfinals before falling in a hard fought match to Williams senior Juli Raventos 6–2, 6–4

In her own estimation, Karamercan felt she could have gone further in the singles tournament.

“It was a matter of a couple of things that caused [Raventos] to win, basically,” Karamercan said. “So in that sense it is disappointing, because I knew I could’ve done a lot better. I definitely knew I could have won that last match.”

The weather circumstances certainly did not help. Saturday started off on a wet foot due to rain, and singles matches were moved indoors. This compounded the already tight schedule, with match winners having to play multiple matches on back to back days.

Despite the less than preferable circumstances, other Jumbos found success as well. First-year Jumbos Kiara Rose and Margot Shea both won their opening matches by winning in two sets before bowing out in the round of 32 to opponents from Williams and Middlebury, respectively. Rose saw off Bowdoin sophomore Sasa Jovanovic 6–3, 6–4 before losing to Williams first-year Rachel Cross 6–1, 6–1. Meanwhile, Shea beat Mount Holyoke sophomore Ching Ching Huang 6–2, 6–1 before losing to Middlebury sophomore Skylar Schossberger 6–4, 6–0.

Karamercan thought that this weekend was important for the first-years to see the standard of Tufts’ opponents come spring.

“It’s important for the [first-years] to see that they can do really well and win and be confident in themselves before the actual season starts,” Karamercan said. “I think it was good for the freshman to see our actual competition [because there] are some really good teams.”

Junior Otilia Popa agreed that this was a good workout for the team.

“I think this part weekend at Williams shows we are right there in the competition with all the other teams,” Popa said. “Since it’s so early in the season, it’s definitely a confidence boost. We’ll continue to work hard and bring good energy to all of our upcoming events.”

Karamercan’s fellow upperclassmen came very close but lost close matches in their openers. Senior tri-captain Lauren Louks lost to Bowdoin sophomore Tasha Christ (7–6, 6–7, 7–6) in a contest that featured three tie-breaking sets. Junior tri-captain Julia Keller fell to Amherst sophomore Maddie Dewire 7–6, 6–2 in another tightly contested match. Their skill and effort, however, were still noticed.

“Julia Keller was playing right next to me and she ended up losing, but throughout the whole time, I thought she was winning,” Karamercan said. “I think that definitely shows something definitely amazing because her body language, how she looked on the court, everything was so positive… It looked like she was playing really well, fighting really well, [and] had a positive attitude.”

Tufts also participated in the doubles events which featured 32 pairs. However, Tufts found less success in doubles play. Admittedly, coach Kate Bayard rotated her doubles pairs from last season, as she once again tried to experiment to find the best possible pairings for the team going into the season proper.

The doubles team of Louks and Popa was victorious in its first match over the Brandeis pairing of senior Haley Cohen and first-year Lauren Bertsch, winning 8–5. The duo fell, however, in a closely contested round-of-16 match to Bowdoin senior Tess Trinka and sophomore Tasha Christ 9–8 (3). Louks and Popa was the only Tufts duo that managed to pull out a victory. Karamercan and Rose lost to Middlebury sophomores Catherine Blayze and Maddi Stow 8–2, while Keller and Shea were bested by the Williams pairing of Raventos and senior Julia Cancio 8–2.

Asked about what the team expects performance-wise at the upcoming Bowdoin Invitational, Karamercan argued that process can be just as important as outcomes.

“Expectations are always the same,” she said. “How to act on the court, off the court, how you present Tufts — it’s always the same, we take it really seriously. I think that’s something our team really focuses on, being positive on the court, just fighting for every ball, never giving up… If you fight there’s always a chance you can win… but if you give up, you’re going to lose.”

The Bowdoin Invitation will be held in Brunswick, Maine on Oct. 13–14. This will be the team’s last fall event before the season proper begins in March.