Women’s Tennis Serves Up Heat Against Brandeis

By CECELIA SCHEUER

Michael Borenstein
Junior Skylar Schossberger dishes out a backhand in a doubles match.

The Middlebury women’s tennis team, now 2-0, continued their killer start to the season with a 9-0 sweep against No. 20 Brandeis (3-4) this past Saturday in the Nelson Recreation Center. 

Once again, the Panthers showed no mercy as they started off the match by taking all three points during doubles play. The team dedicated an extensive portion of their training to honing in on doubles play during the fall and winter seasons, which proved effective on the court. No. 3 tandem of Maddi Stow ’21 and first-year Nora Dahl secured an 8-1 victory over Brandeis’ Sophia He and Ana Hatfield, while the junior duo of Katherine Hughes and Skylar Schossberger doubled the lead with an 8-2 win in the top spot against Olivia Leavitt and Lauren Bertsch. In the No. 2 position, the tandem of Heather Boehm ’20 and Ann Martin Skelly ’21 secured the Panthers’ 3-0 doubles lead with an 8-3 victory over Diana Dehterevich and Karen Khromchenko. 

“The Brandeis team is very mentally strong and they will fight until the very last point is played, so we were very happy with how we responded to that challenge,” captain Christina Puccinelli ’19 said. 

The Panthers were relentless in singles play as well. Puccinelli made the score 4-0 after she cruised past Khromchenko 6-2, 6-0 in the third spot. At the top of the lineup, Hughes posted a 6-3, 6-3 over Dehterevich, while Boehm triumphed 6-0, 6-3 over Leavitt in the second slot. Schossberger clinched a 6-1, 6-2 win over Bertch in the fourth slot, while Stow gave the Panthers an 8-0 advantage with a 6-1, 6-3 victory at No.5 over He. To top things off, Emily Bian ’21 completed the sweep at the sixth position after she clinched a 7-6(2), 6-2 victory against Hatfield. 

“Over the next few weeks, we will be playing against some very strong teams and we can’t wait to see how we stack up against them,” Puccinelli said. “We have had a strong start to the season but there are still many more matches to play before the NCAA’s, so we’re all pretty confident that the best is yet to come.”

The sixth-ranked Panthers will return to the courts for their five-match marathon in California during their spring break trip. Competition will start at Cal State LA on Sunday, March 24 at 1 p.m. eastern.  If the team continues to follow their current trajectory, the trip should give them the momentum to continue on their path towards winning the NCAA championship.

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