Women’s tennis wins back-to-back home matches, inches closer to end of regular season

Senior Otilia Popa prepares for a serve during a doubles match in the women’s tennis home game against Williams at Voute Tennis Courts on Apr. 28, 2018. (Ben Kim /The Tufts Daily)

No. 8 Tufts hosted unranked Connecticut College at Gantcher Center on Saturday, claiming an 8–1 victory over the Camels. The Jumbos won three of three doubles matches, taking an early 3–0 lead. First-year Anna Lowy and junior Kat Wiley and No. 1 doubles sophomore Patricia Obeid and senior Tomo Iwasaki both shut out out their opponents 8–0. First-year Nicole Frankel clinched the win for the Jumbos, winning her singles match 6–1, 6–1.

The Jumbos had a clear advantage for the match against the Camels, as the team practices at Gantcher regularly. Obeid spoke about the confidence the Jumbos had heading into their game against the Camels.

“Conn. College is known as the not-as-strong team in our conference,” said Obeid. “We had more confidence going into that game and we had an advantage since we had been training in Gantcher for a while.”

A day earlier, the Jumbos trounced unranked Wellesley 7–2 at Voute Courts on Friday afternoon. The Jumbos gained momentum early in the match, winning two out of three of their doubles matches. Contributing to the Jumbos’ success were No. 2 doubles member Iwasaki and senior Otilia Popa (8–4) and from No. 3 doubles Lowy and Wiley (8–2).

Families and friends were abound on the sunny Friday afternoon of Easter weekend.

“I saw a lot of families there [in the stands] since it was Easter weekend,” Frankel added. “Everyone was at the outside courts cheering us on.”

Tufts extended its 2–1 lead in doubles in singles play. Wiley played a perfect game, and first-year star Caroline Garrido dominated her opponent 6–0, 6–3. Standout first-year Maggie Dorr fought hard against Wellesley senior Justine Huang, but ultimately lost the match 4–6, 6–3, 12–10. Frankel once again clinched the win for the Jumbos, winning her match 6–2, 6–3. Iwasaki, who also played singles, capped off her match in tiebreakers 6–2, 7–6, tallying in the seventh and last point to the Jumbos’ 7–2 final score.

The Wellesley match was senior Otilia Popa’s first match in nearly two months; she sustained a concussion in February and had not competed since. Considered a great leader and a stellar player by her teammates, Popa returned at the right time as the postseason looms.

Like many other spring sports, finals coincide with postseason play, notably the NESCACs. But Frankel points out that finals should not affect their game.

“I do not think it should affect it in a negative way. We only have two more matches left, and we can study for our finals then. NESCACs happen after finals are over, and by then our focus will be on that.”

As a result of the back-to-back wins, the Jumbos are now 3–3 at home, 5–1 in the NESCAC and 8–6 overall. The Jumbos will have an away face-off against their in-conference rivals No. 7 Amherst at 3:30 p.m. this afternoon. The team will then host the No. 16 MIT Engineers at 3 p.m. on Friday, April 26 for their final match of the regular season.