FREDERICKSBURG, Va. -- The Wellesley College tennis team opened its 2012 spring season with a thrilling 5-4 victory over the University of Mary Washington in the Fab Five Tournament hosted by Washington and Lee.
Wellesley, ranked #19 in the latest ITA Division III poll, is now 11-1 overall with a 5-1 record against nationally-ranked opponents. Mary Washington, ranked #22 nationally, dips to 7-2 on the season.
The Blue opened the afternoon with a 2-1 advantage after doubles play. Setting the tone for the match, Wellesley's newly minted second doubles team of Erica Choo and Diana Granger cruised to an easy 8-1 win over the Eagles team of Cassie Bowman and Casey Malcolm.
Wellesley and Mary Washington split the remaining doubles matches. At one, Marie Watanabe and Sojung Lee recorded an 8-5 win over Michelle Meadows and Lindsay Raulston. At three, the Eagles got on the board, as Jocelyn Lewis and Alex Ritter topped the Blue pair of Melissa Clark and Joyce Chen, 8-4.
Singles play came down to the wire, as each team took three matches. Granger's fourth flight match ended first, as she cruised to a 6-3, 6-1 victory over Bowman. Lee then put Wellesley up 4-1 as the first-year won a marathon first-set 7-6 (7-3) and then dominated the second, 6-1.
Mary Washington stormed back with wins at six and one. At six, Malcolm was a 6-4, 6-4 winner over Kendall Tada, while Raulston defeated Watanabe, 6-3, 6-3 at one.
With the second and third flight matches the only ones still on court, Wellesley's Clark sealed the team victory with a thrilling win over Ritter at three. Clark dropped the first set 4-6 but pulled out the second set, 6-2, forcing a deciding third set. After each player held serve through the first five games, Clark got the break to go ahead 5-2. She was then able to seal the match and the team victory with a huge forehand, forcing an opponent error.
In the final completed match, Erica Choo battled through two tiebreakers, but fell to Meadows 7-6 (7-4), 7-6 (7-4) in the second flight.
Wellesley continues play in the Fab Five Tournament on Sunday, battled Sewanee at 8:00 am.