Women’s tennis takes doubles title at ITA regional tournament
The women’s tennis team hosted the Intercollegiate Tennis Association Northeast Regional Championship, wrapping up six days of play at the Boss Tennis Center this past Tuesday. Dartmouth posted solid results throughout the championship, highlighted by Taylor Ng ’17 and Kristina Mathis ’18 taking home the doubles title, the team’s first-ever title at the ITA regional competition.
“Our games’ really complement each other,” Mathis said. “I’m more a baseline player, and Taylor is a great all-court volley player. Our chemistry on and off the court is also great.”
Over the course of the event, 37 teams — including each Ivy League team except for Princeton University — competed in Boss.
Ng and Mathis took down a duo from the University of Pennsylvania in the final round to take the title. The Big Green pair cruised to a 6-2 first set win before dropping the second set 6-3. The Dartmouth duo was able to pull it out in a deciding third set super tiebreaker, finishing 11-9 to win the event and earn the opportunity to compete at the ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Championship in New York City in November.
“We went about [the tiebreaker] as if it were a new set,” Ng said. “You kind of have to forget if you won the previous set or lost, so you can get on an even level. You have to get the momentum back immediately.”
Head coach Bob Dallis described Ng and Mathis’ victory as a “history-setting performance,” as their victory marked the first time in Dartmouth women’s tennis history that any player had won the tournament.
“I think this was a great win for Dartmouth women’s tennis,” Mathis said, “It puts us on the board, and shows we’re a force to be reckoned with.”
Dartmouth enjoyed a strong performance throughout the tournament. Allison Chuang ’19 kicked off play for the Big Green by fighting her way through qualifying rounds and into the main draw. On the first day of the event, Chuang downed Rutgers University sophomore Chloe Lee in a tight three-setter, 6-7(3), 6-3, 6-4. Chuang was not done after the first victory, though, and she went on to knock out University of Massachusetts senior Carol Benito in straight sets on that same day, moving Chuang into the main draw round.
In the next single round, Chuang ran into Cornell University junior Marika Cusick, the No. 17 seed in her bracket. Chuang was unable to pull off the upset and bowed out of the tournament after her success in the qualifying rounds. After beating Chuang, Cusick was only just beginning her strong run at ITA Regionals that saw her take down another Big Green player.
Katherine Yau ’16, who was also ranked No. 17 in her bracket, slotted three straight-set victories to move on to the quarterfinals, where she drew Cusick. Cusick cruised over Yau in the first set, blanking Yau 6-0. Yau, however, mounted a spirited comeback, edging Cusick out 9-7 in a second set tiebreaker. Yau was unable to complete her comeback and move on to the final round as Cusick ousted her 6-4 in the final set. Yau’s quarterfinal showings was the best singles performance by Dartmouth in the tournament.
Ng, who is ranked No. 67 in the nation and was the top seed in her corner of the bracket, was upset in singles play during the round of 16 by University of Pennsylvania junior Kana Daniel. Ng, the 2015 Ivy League Player of the Year, posted a record of 21-1 playing No. 1 for the Big Green last season.
Even when her singles performance was not up to par, Ng continued to make history by recovering and winning the doubles title with her partner Mathis.
The Big Green had another dominant doubles team in Julienne Keong ’16 and Suzy Tan ’16. In the round of 64, the duo defeated University of Albany’s Ana Glumac and Paulina Torres 8-5. The duo continued its winning ways in the round of 32 beating University of Massachusetts’ Ruth Crawford and Anna Woosley in another 8-5 victory to advance to the round of 16 where they fell to the No. 9 seed.
Overall, Dallis said, the team had a strong showing in doubles play.
The combination of skill and team chemistry promise a great season for the team this year. Dallis especially emphasized the team’s strong “mental focus and mental energy,” which he thinks will play a key role in the team’s successes.
“I see an Ivy League title in our future,” Ng said. “We have that potential and we were very close last year, and we’re only getting better.”
The team will next take the court on Nov. 6, when the team will host the Big Green Invite.
“I think there’s a lot of improvements to be made over the next week and a half,” Ng said, “There’s going to be some really good teams at the Big Green Invite, so I think that’s going to be a really good test.”