The Dartmouth women's tennis team enjoyed a successful Homecoming last weekend in the Dartmouth Invitational at the Boss Tennis Center. All of the finals matches featured a member of the Big Green, and all eight Dartmouth lady racketeers found victory in at least one of their respective matches over the course of the two-day event.
In the A-flight singles draw, all four Dartmouth entrants reached the quarterfinals. Sizzling sophomores Jayme Ahmed and Evie Stevens reached the semifinals, while Ahmed advanced to the finals.
Ahmed, the tournament's third seed, received a first-round bye before eliminating Boston University's Alana Marcu by the count of 6-0, 6-4 in the quarterfinals. In the semifinals, she produced a masterful performance against the second-seeded Elena deMendoza of BU.
Ahmed constantly kept her accomplished opponent on the defensive by hitting the ball on the rise and coming up with excellent angles from the baseline. On deMendoza's weakly hit short balls, Ahmed used her athleticism to pounce on those short offerings and pile up winners to additionally frustrate her adversary.
Stevens thoroughly dismantled Colgate's Jamie Maldow 6-1, 6-1 in the first round before matching up against the fourth seed, Harvard's Moira Finicane, in her next encounter. Stevens then pulled off the upset in straight sets, 7-6 (5), 6-3. Neither Maldow nor Finicane had an effective response to Stevens' consistent game. The Big Green sophomore cleverly mixed deep topspin shots with cutting slices to keep her opponents out of their rhythm.
Boston University's Lindsey Dynof proved to be quite the problem for the Big Green on the day, as she defeated both Ahmed and Stevens. Dynof bested Stevens in their semifinal match before going on to vanquish Ahmed in the finals.
In other A-flight action, Katie Jaxheimer '06 disposed of Sheila Rao of Colgate 6-3, 6-2 before running into the battering ram that was Dynof in the quarters and falling 6-3, 6-3. Even in defeat, Jaxheimer showed considerable poise and tenacity. She put up a courageous fight versus the eventual tournament champion by engaging in numerous lengthy points that truly tested the Terrier star.
Sarah McNally '05 comfortably defeated league rival Christina Chen of Harvard 6-0, 6-4 in her opening-round contest. McNally pounded her opponent into submission with a wide array of powerful groundstrokes and finished off the match with a succession of big forehands. In the next round, McNally succumbed to deMendoza by the count of 6-4, 6-3.
The B-flight also showcased many outstanding performances from the Big Green.
Ann Scott '06, who earned the No. 2 seed in the B-flight tournament, advanced all the way to the finals before losing to Aimee Charest of BU in a tough three-set contest, 4-6, 7-5, 6-2. Scott employed a big first serve and a Stefan Edberg-esque attacking game plan to do away with both of her first two opponents in straight sets.
Captain Lisa Francazio '03, the lone senior on the Dartmouth squad, used her experience and cunning to advance to semifinals of the B-flight draw. After beating Colgate's Victoria Bendetson in the first round in a relatively routine straight-sets match, Francazio edged another Raider 7-5, 7-6 (4).
The feisty fourth-year continually chased down balls that appeared at first glance to be sure winners to keep herself in points, and in the end she won enough critical points to emerge victorious. However, Francazio's run ended against Charest in their semifinal match.
In doubles, the team of Ahmed and Jaxheimer embarked upon a thrilling run to the tournament final. After a first-round bye and an easy second-round win, the Dartmouth duo won an epic battle with deMendoza and Charest of BU (see "Match of the Tournament" article). The Terrier team of Dynof and Monica Shepherd ended up taking the title with an 8-4 win in the final.
A pair of newcomers to the Dartmouth team, Janis Hui '04 and Stephanie Mathews '05, also notched a big win in the doubles draw. They took out Rao and Lauren Erikson of Colgate by the score of 8-4 in their opening round match.
All in all, the weekend proved to be successful in displaying the considerable talents of the Dartmouth women's tennis team to their home fans.
"The Dartmouth Invite was a huge success as usual," Francazio said.
"The Boss center is always the nicest facility that we get to play at. What is most exciting is how much everyone has improved, especially in the doubles. Watching doubles this weekend seemed a totally different game from preseason, so I think everyone is pretty happy about the way they played."