The Brandeis University women’s tennis team dropped a decisive 9-0 decision to the Tufts University Jumbos, in their first match of the season on April 3 at the Cordish Tennis Center. This was the Judges first match of the season, as well as their first match of the academic year, after being on the sidelines since last spring due to the cancellation of varsity sports in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ana Hatfield ’22 had the strongest showing for the Judges, taking the first set off her opponent at the #2 singles spot, but the Rockford, IL native went on to drop the next set 5-7 and lost the third-set tiebreaker 7-10. The tough day for the team continued, as captain Lauren Bertch ’21 was defeated by Tilly Rigby, ranked #28 nationally, 1-6, 4-6. In #5 singles, Isabel Cepeda ’21 fell 4-6, 4-6 to senior Patricia Obeid. Unfortunately, that was the closest the Judges would ever come to taking a set from the Jumbos.
Brandeis did not fare much better in doubles play, ending up on the wrong side of 8-2, 8-3 and 8-1 decisions in the three matches played. Bertsch teamed up with first-year Nikita Salkar ’24 in #1 doubles but were defeated by Tufts top pair of Maggie Dorr and Caroline Garrido. Rookie Ella Subramanian ’24 joined with Hatfield in #2 doubles, but were unable to take out Rigby and Casey Cummings ‘23, with a final score of 3-8.
Last year, the tennis team, along with all other Brandeis athletics, was unable to finish their spring season due to impending circumstances surrounding the pandemic. On March 24 of this year, however, Brandeis athletics announced their return to play guidelines, giving spring sport athletes their first chance to compete since March of 2020. According to the press release, tennis teams, along with track and field, baseball, softball and swimming, have been granted the opportunity to play some local competition within the state of Massachusetts, only competing against schools with the same COVID-19 testing protocols as Brandeis. All athletes will be tested within 72-hours of competition and athletic training staff will ensure that all protocols—for players, coaches and other staff—are followed diligently. Spectators will not be allowed at any events, but all will be either live-streamed or include live, play-by-play statistics on BrandeisJudges.com.
In announcing these return to play guidelines, Athletic Director Lauren Haynie said, “As a department, we have been working towards the goal of competing since last March…Our student-athletes, coaches and staff have been diligent in preparing for this opportunity, while simultaneously keeping the health, safety and welfare of our community in the forefront. I commend them for their continued vigilance, and thank our university’s senior leadership for making outside competition a possibility.” That said, Brandeis was hoping to start back off on the right foot during their home opener.
The Judges will hope to bounce back when they return to action to welcome in the Merrimack College Warriors for their next set of matches at home on Friday, April 16.