Women's Tennis Nabs First Conference Victory of Season, 5-4, over Rhodes

Women's Tennis Nabs First Conference Victory of Season, 5-4, over Rhodes

The Oglethorpe women's tennis team picked up its first SAA victory in the last two seasons Saturday at the Downing Howell Courts, defeating the visiting Rhodes Lynx in a tight 5-4 contest. The win improved the Stormy Petrels to 9-8 on the season overall and 1-3 in SAA play.

The Petrels started off well in the doubles portion of the competition, as they got three victories under their belt before entering singles. The No. 1 duo of sophomore Caroline Johnson and senior Katherine Walker defeated the top Rhodes team 8-4 while the No. 2 team of freshman Shannon Cruz and sophomore Halley Sickling took their match 8-4, as well. Meanwhile, Oglethorpe got a break at No. 3 singles, where Rhodes did not field a full squad due to injury, giving the Petrels the match in a walkover. 

With a 3-0 lead headed to doubles, the Petrels got another walkover victory at No. 6 singles, pushing them to within a single point of taking the dual match for their first SAA victory of the season. Walker fell 6-4, 6-4 at No. 3, though, while junior Ingrid Wilcox dropped her No. 4 match 6-3, 6-2, making it 4-2. Senior MaryAnne Hafen took the first set at No. 5, but fell in the next two, allowing Rhodes to take that match 1-6, 6-1, 6-4, making it 4-3. That was followed by Johnson fighting valiantly in an epic 3-set match at No. 1, but falling 6-3, 5-7, 7-5, tying the score at 4-4.

That left everything to Cruz, and she was locked in an extremely tight match at No. 2, as she saw her first two sets go to tiebreakers. She won one and lost one, then responded in the third set with a rousing victory, defeating her opponent 6-7 (3), 7-6 (1), 6-3, giving Oglethorpe the 5-4 win.

"This was a great win for our group," said Oglethorpe head coach Peter Howell. "They have worked so hard and been so close in conference matches and it's nice to break through with a win in which we had to scratch and claw for every point. Shannon did a great job in coming back and taking that final match. We are excited about playing Hendrix tomorrow."

The Petrels will take on the Warrirors Sunday at 9 a.m. from the Downing Howell Courts.