The Oglethorpe women's tennis team got off to a solid start to the 2015-16 season Wednesday evening with a 5-4 victory over Oxford at the Downing Howell Courts. The Stormy Petrels jumped out to a big lead with a sweep of the doubles competition, but had to hold on late as the visiting Eagles came back to within a match, 4-3. An excellent performance by sophomore No. 1 Caroline Johnson secured the match for the home side.
After an hour-long lightning delay, the Petrels got off to a very hot start, bombarding Oxford in the doubles portion of the dual match. The No. 1 doubles team of sophomore Caroline Johnson and senior Katherine Walker blitzed their Oxford counterparts 8-0. The No. 2 doubles team of junior Ingrid Wilcox and sophomore Halley Sickling were locked in a competitive match that went 8-5 to the Petrels, while newcomer doubles team Delaney Abood and Shannon Cruz secured the doubles sweep with an 8-4 win over their opponents at No. 3.
In the singles competition, Walker quickly put the Petrels up 4-0 with a 6-1, 6-1 win at No. 3. That meant Oglethorpe only needed to win one more match to take the win on the night. Johnson won the first set at No. 1, 6-2, to put the Petrels within view of that goal. However, Wilcox (No. 4), Abood (No. 5) and Emma Bernard (No. 6) dropped their first sets 6-3, 6-0 and 6-1, respectively. Oxford was able to close out the Nos. 4-6 matches in straight sets to make the score 4-3. Johnson lost the second set 6-2, but forced her opponent to retire in the third set, securing Oglethorpe the victory. Cruz took the second set 7-5 but fell in a third-set super-tiebreak, 10-8.
"This was a great match to introduce our freshmen to college tennis against a strong JUCO opponent," said Head Coach Peter Howell. "We saw first-hand the effort it takes to play at this level. Being our first match, we showed some expected nervousness in the singles, but looked much more comfortable in the doubles. I am glad to get this opening match behind us with a W."
The Petrels will continue the fall season with a trip to Sewanee, Tennessee, for the USTA/ITA South Regional Championships Oct. 2-4 before concluding the autumn with another home match against Brooklyn Oct. 10.