Brandeis women’s tennis had a strong start to the season with an 8-1 record going into their match against number-seven Middlebury. The Brandeis team is currently ranked 18th in Division III according to the Intercollegiate Tennis Association.
The team started their season ranked 28th in Division III. With their six victories, including wins against top-20 teams University of Redlands, formally ranked 19th, and their 6-3 victory against the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, then ranked 17th, led to their climb to their best ranking in the program’s history.
Head Coach Benjamin Lamanna has worked with both the men’s and women’s teams for 12 years. Since starting as head coach in 2005, Lamanna’s highest team ranking for the women was in 2012 at number 19.
The Judges can attribute their success to the consistency of all their team members with singles and doubles. Rookie Sabrina Ross Neergaard ’20 is currently 7-2 at the number-one spot in singles. She plays number-one in both singles and doubles. Her doubles partner Olivia Leavitt ’19 is currently 6-2 overall in single matches, playing mostly at the number-four spot.
Team captain Haley Cohen ’18 is at the number-two seat in singles, currently going 6-3. She also plays in the number-two doubles spot. Sophomore Keren Khromchenko is currently 5-2 in single matches at the number-three spot, and also competes in the number-three seat in doubles play. Sophia He ’19 held a winning record at number-five singles before taking time off due to injury.
The women’s tennis team’s winning streak came to an end this week with their match against Middlebury, with a 1-8 loss. The Judges started off slowly by dropping the first two doubles matches at numbers one and two. But the number-three doubles team got Brandeis on the scoreboard with an 8-5 victory from Michele Lehat ’19 and Khromchenko. Neergaard and Leavitt fell 8-4. Ariana Ishaq ’19 and Cohen fell 8-1. Unfortunately, the Judges were unable to earn another victory in singles play.
The Judges’ remaining opponents in their schedule include many nationally ranked teams. They will face off against 12th-ranked Tufts University in a mid-week match on Wednesday, March 29.
In April, the team will compete in the Northeastern Bowl, playing Southern New Hampshire and Skidmore. Finally, they will head to Altamonte Springs, FL, to compete in the UAA Conference Championships at the end of April right after the spring break. The UAA Conference has a highly competitive group of women’s tennis teams, featuring six of the top 20 teams in Division III and seven of the top 35 teams in Division III.
After their defeat against New York University the Judges are now ranked fifth in the UAAs behind Emory, University of Chicago, Washington University in St. Louis and Carnegie Mellon.
Neergaard was the UAA tennis athlete of the week after finishing 4-0 in singles and doubles matches with the Judges win over St. Lawrence University and NYU. The team hopes to continue to improve their rankings as the they come into the second half of their season.