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Women’s tennis advances 11 spots in rankings

By Shea Decker-Jacoby

Section: Sports

March 10, 2017

The women’s tennis team is now ranked Number 21 in the nation after its victory against Bates College on March 3, its highest ranking since 2012.

Coming back from a huge success in California over February break, team captain Haley Cohen ’18 spoke to The Brandeis Hoot about the team’s goals. Before the matches against Bates and MIT, they focused on “competing well and to stay in the present. Our coaches emphasized that we should focus on the process, and based on that, the results will come,” said Cohen. And that advice from their coaches paid off.  

After trailing 2-1 from a doubles defeat, the Judges came back to win the match against Bates 6-3. The number one doubles team Sabrina Ross Neergaard ’20 and Olivia Leavitt ’19 knocked off the Bobcats 8-5 for the number one seat in the doubles tournaments, but the Judges fell behind with a Bobcat 9-8 victory, winning the tiebreaker 9-8.

The Judges bounced back in the singles matches by taking all five victories. Neergaard and and captain Cohen gave Brandeis the lead by taking the top two spots. Neergaard won 6-4, 6-2 to take the number one seat and Cohen took a 6-4, 6-1 win for the number-two seat. Keren Khromchenko ’19 took the number three seat with her victory of 6-4, 6-3, and Leavitt finished off the singles matches with her 6-3, 6-0 victory taking the fourth seat in her home state.

The Judges hit the courts again at MIT, where they picked up their second-straight road win beating #17 MIT 6-3, making it the first loss of the season for the MIT Engineers (10-1).

Brandeis started off strong by taking the 2-1 lead early, with Leavitt and Neergaard ultimately taking an 8-4 win for the number one double seat. Lehat and Khromchenko took the number three seat to break the tie with a victory score of 7-2 after the doubles match. With a lead going into the singles matches, the Judges held nothing back by taking the top three seats in the tournament. Neergaard defeated the number one seat with a score of 6-4, 6-0.

Cohen won her match against the Engineer who beat her and her partner in the doubles match with a score of 6-3, 6-4. This victory gave her the second-place seat in the singles match. Khromchenko clinched the number-two seat with a 6-2, 6-3 win. Lehat earned a win at number five, taking the match to a tiebreaker, 6-2, 2-6, 11-9. This was the first win for the Judges against MIT since 2012.

With the rising success for the Brandeis women’s tennis team, Cohen spoke about the team and about its recent ranking rise. “A big part of our success can be attributed to our team’s chemistry, our supportive and knowledgeable coach staff, and of course the hard work we put in on and off the court—day in and day out,” she said.

“We have come so far, both mentally and physically,” Cohen said about the team’s growth over the season. “It is not easy, and it requires tremendous perseverance. This requires each and every one of us to have the willingness to listen and to be open-minded.”

The team is only a few weeks into the season. According to Cohen, the team still wants to “keep growing and maturing, because the opportunity for that is endless. In a perfect world, we’d love to win each and every match from here on out. It may happen, it may not, but one thing we can count on is the undeniable effort that will go into every point played on the court.” That is exactly what we can expect to see from each member of the Brandeis women’s tennis team.

The Judges return to the courts to face off against St. Lawrence University on Saturday, March 11 before facing off against UAA rival New York University on Sunday, March 12.  

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