Over the February recess, #28 Brandeis women’s tennis team traveled to Southern California to play Caltech, Claremont-Mudd-Scripps, Cal Lutheran and the Redlands.
In their first match in Pasadena, the Judges earned a 6-1 victory over the Caltech Beavers. In the doubles matches, the Judges swept the Beavers with a victory from all three of the doubles teams. Olivia Leavitt ’19 and rookie Sabrina Ross Neergaard ’20 earned the win at the number-one seat with their 8-5 victory. At the #2 doubles spot, Sophia He ’19 and Haley Cohen ’18 took an 8-6 win, while Keren Khromchenko ’19 and Michele Lehat ’19 earned the third doubles win 8-4.
In singles play, the Judges secured the victory with Neergaard at the first spot with a 6-2, 6-1 decision. Lehat won at the number-six spot, matching Neergaard’s score of 6-2, 6-1. He, playing at the number-five spot, had a tougher time but outplayed her opponent in the third-set tiebreaker to earn a win 3-6, 6-1, 10-6. Inclement weather forced an abbreviated finish, but the women secured the minimum of five total points to judge the match a Brandeis win. Singles play at the number-two, -three and -four spots were cut off before the individual matches were decided.
Brandeis then faced off with number-five Claremont-Mudd-Scripps on Tuesday, Feb. 21. The Judges took their first loss of the season in a CMS sweep 0-9. Neergaard and Leavitt took on the nationally ranked doubles team in the number-one doubles spot to drop the match with a score of 8-5.
In singles, the Brandeis players could not string enough games together to win any sets. Khromchenko, however, pushed CMS’s Catherine Allen to a third-set tiebreaker in the number-three singles spot. Allen, who was ranked #14 nationally in the individual Division III rankings in the fall, won the match 6-3, 2-6, 10-2.
The team swept the Cal Lutheran Regals with a 9-0 victory. Starting strong, the Judges lost only five games across all three of the doubles matches to take the lead. Lehat and Khromchenko at the number-three doubles spot won eight straight games.
Neergaard lost only four games out of her two matches, taking an 8-2 with Leavitt at the top doubles spot, and winning 6-0, 6-2 in the top singles. Neergaard’s doubles partner, Leavitt, also earned a quick victory at the number-three singles spot 6-2, 6-2.
Making their seasonal debuts, Ariana Ishaq ’19 took a 6-2, 6-3 win at the number-five singles spot and rookie Sarah Greisman ’19 earned a 6-2, 6-1 victory at the number-six singles spot.
The final match of the week was against the #19 University of Redlands, where the Judges took a close upset 5-4 victory. Khromchenko and Lehat took the only doubles win for Brandeis in the number-three spot to establish a 1-2 score going into singles play. The Judges needed four out of six singles wins to win the match.
In the singles play, Khromchenko and Leavitt earned quick wins with scores of 6-3, 6-1 and 6-2, 6-2, respectively. He, in the number-five singles spot, also earned a quick win, matching Leavitt’s score of 6-2, 6-2. Cohen at the number-two singles spot would clinch the upset win with a score of 6-4, 6-3 over her Redlands opponent.
After Redlands, the women left California with a 4-1 season record. The Judges are coming back strong this Friday, March 3 in an away match against Bates College in Maine.