Westmont Women’s Tennis (6-7, 4-0 GSAC) went head-to-head with NCAA Div. III Middlebury (Vt.) on Monday in Claremont. Ultimately, the Middlebury Panthers (4-1) handed the Warriors a 7-0 loss.
“Middlebury was pretty well-polished,” shared Westmont associate head coach Cade Pierson. “Even though we lost, we played good, strategic, problem-solving tennis. The intention of this match, similarly to some of our previous tough matches, is that iron sharpens iron.
“We don’t want to go into our important GSAC matches playing fluffy matches to give us confidence. We want to be forced to improve, instead of being surprised by high-level competition. After a match like this, we’ll continue to grow towards being the team that dictates the pace of a match.”
In doubles, Rachal Jackson and Emily Peterson put up a great fight on court one, ultimately forcing a tiebreaker. Unfortunately, for the pair, the result of the match was moot point, given Francesca Aguirre and Sophia Ostovany had already fallen on court two, as had Logan Jackson and Arianna Vethan on three.
Still, Jackson and Peterson out-willed Brinlea La Barge and Sami Remis by a score of 8-7 (6).
“We had a bit of a slow start on most courts,” said Pierson. “On two and three, regardless of result, we did a good job adjusting and trying to problem solve. We had to play scrappy and two back, and I was really happy to see my players make that judgement without having to tell them.
“At one, Rachal and Emily did a really good job trusting their plan. It came down to nerves in the tiebreaker, and I was proud to see them hold their nerves better.”
In singles play, the Panthers had their way with the Warriors, as Middlebury took all six matches without needing a third set.
Jackson and Aguirre, on courts one and three, prolonged their matches longer than the rest of the Warriors on Monday. On one, Jackson fell to Sahana Raman 6-0, 7-6 (4), and one three, Aguirre was outlasted by La Barge 6-4, 6-3.
Jackson also pushed Ruhi Kamdar in the first set on court six, ultimately falling 6-4 before losing 6-1 in the second.
“Rachal had a really good day, mentally,” reflected Pierson. “She lost 6-0 and came back to force a tiebreaker in the second set. She did a really good job of keeping her composure and staying positive. She controlled everything she could.
“Everyone else had a pretty slow start in singles as well. We took some adjusting to their playstyle, realizing there needed to be a team-wide strategy shift. A lot of our team adjusted and adjusted well, but, like doubles, it was just too little too late.”
The Warriors have a quick turnaround as they return to the court tomorrow morning in Irvine, for a GSAC matchup against Westcliff. First serve is scheduled for 11:00 a.m.
Jacob Norling is the sports information assistant at Westmont College.