MIT, Smith Advance in Women’s Tennis Tournament; Babson, Mount Holyoke Fall

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. - The Massachusetts Institute of Technology played host to the 2009 New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Women's Tennis Championship today at the J.B. Carr Tennis Bubble. The two-day event began with quarterfinal matches as the #6 seed Engineers of MIT took on the #3 Beavers of Babson College and the #5 Lyons of Mount Holyoke College challenged the #4 Pioneers of Smith College. After the day was done, the Engineers and Pioneers were victorious, and the Beavers and Lyons were eliminated.

In the day's first match between MIT and Babson, the Engineers looked to avenge their regular season loss from just four days ago. MIT senior Leslie Hansen, who was absent from Tuesday's match proved to be the difference maker when the Engineers pulled to a quick 2-1 lead after doubles play.

In singles action, Hansen cruised to an easy win over Jes Huang [6-4, 6-2], and though she struggled in the first set, Anastasia Vishnevetsky rallied to beat Rebecca Stone [5-7, 6-3, 6-3] to put MIT up 4-1. The determined Beavers would not fall easily, as Lorena Becerra, Monica Mercer, and Gabby Baez picked up wins in their singles matches to tie the match at 4-4.

Everything came down to the #5 match between MIT's Alex Hall and Babson's Mikaela Stamas. After Hall won the first set, the two traded games in the second until Stamas broke Hall's serve in the tenth game to win the set. In the deciding set, Hall was unstoppable and swept the set to win the match [6-4, 4-6, 6-0] and to give the Engineers a 5-4 victory, advancing them to the semifinals against the #2 Blue of Wellesley College on Sunday at 9:30 a.m. 

In the second quarterfinal, Smith and Mount Holyoke played into the evening for the final spot at the semifinals. In doubles play, the #3 match featured Smith's Allyson Hawkins and Margaret Steiner battling Mount Holyoke's Sarah London and Carly Peltier to a 7-7 tie in the eight-game pro-set. Hawkins and Steiner held strong in the final two games to win [9-7] and together with their teammates, completed a sweep of doubles action to put the Pioneers up 3-0.

With the deficit, Mount Holyoke would need to win five of the six singles matches to rally and win. The Lyons' top two players, Nahree Han and Natalie Hsaing put their team in the mix by picking up two-set victories. In the #3 singles, Smith's Clair Oblamski took down Sarah Moore [6-1, 6-2] to advance the score to 4-2 and put the Pioneers in position for the killing blow.

At the #4 position, senior Lyon Sarah London kept the match alive with a win over Alanna Dick [6-2, 7-5] narrowing the lead to 4-3 and giving the #5 and #6 matches a chance to hit the courts. It was the #5 match that was the ultimate decider, as Smith's Hawkins was able to put away My-Linh Nguyen for the final point in the Pioneer's 5-3 victory. Smith College advances to face #1 Wheaton College in the other semifinal, also at 9:30 a.m. Sunday at MIT.