Cardinals Finish 2-2 During Orlando, Fla. Trip Led by Kiley Robbins '14 & Nicki Softness '14 - Open Northern Slate with Losses to Amherst & Bowdoin
Behind wins in both singles and doubles by Kiley Robbins '14 (left-side photo) and Nicki Softness '14 (right-side photo), Wesleyan began a five-match excursion in Orlando Fla., Sun., March 6, with a 6-3 victory over Upper Iowa. The squad faced Rochester in its next match Mon., March 7, with the Yellow Jackets coming away 7-2 winners. Wesleyan got back on track against Drew the following day, breezing to a comfortable 9-0 victory but an extremely tight match with St. Cloud St. Wed., March 9 went the way of the opponent, 5-4. A match vs. Wheaton (IL) Thurs., March 10 was slated to end the trip but it was cancelled due to rain. Thus the team posted a 2-2 mark.
Robbins teamed with Sarah Miller '13, back from a semester abroad during the fall, for an 8-5 win at #2 doubles while Softness paired with Kaitlyn Clark '14 for a comfortable 8-2 triumph at #3. Robbins and Softness also were part of a series of four singles victories from #3 through #6, all in straight sets, with Robbins winning at #4 and Softness at #6. Also victorious for Wesleyan were #3 Grace Smith '14 and #5 Linda McDougal '11.
Against Rochester, Softness was impressive with a 6-2, 6-2 singles victory while the doubles tandem of Sarah Miller '12 and Robbins posted a 9-7 triumph at #2, accounted for the two team points.
Facing Drew for the first time ever, Wesleyan left no doubt as to the outcome despite playing without the services of #1 Genevieve Aniello '13. The Cardinals took all six singles matches in straight sets with no player dropping more than two games in any one set. Collectively, Wesleyan registered a 72-9 margin in games in singles play. Doubles went Wesleyan's way by a cumulative 24-2 count.
As close as the match was with St. Cloud, the individual matches had unique characters of their own. While Miller, at #2, and Robbins, at #4, cruised to solid straight-set wins, Smith, at #3, had one of the most topsy-turvy victories around with a three set triumph, winning the first and third, 6-1, while dropping the middle stanza, 6-0. McDougal, at #5, and Clark, at #6, lost incredibly close matches, McDougal in a pair of tie-breakers and Clark by a tie-breaker in the third set. McDougal and Smith paired for an 8-2 win at #2 doubles while the other two doubles affairs went to St. Cloud, 8-6 at #1 and 9-7 at #3. A victory by Wesleyan in any of the four close setback could have swayed the team result in the Cardinals' favor.
For the trip, Robbins played singles and doubels in all four matches, going 3-1 in each venue. Softness was undefeated during the journey, with a 3-0 mark in singles and 2-0 in doubles.
Wesleyan's initial northern match of the spring was at home Wed., March 30 against Little Three rival Amherst in a NESCAC matchup. Amherst captured a 9-0 decision without dropping a set. At #1, Aniello pressed her Lord Jeff rival to a pair of tight sets, losing 5-7, 5-7. Softness took her opponent to a tie-breaker in the first set at #6 while #2 Miller lost a 4-6 set. Otherwise, Amherst yielded no more than two games in the remaning eight singles sets. In doubles, the team of Miller and Robbins at #2 and McDougal and Softness at #3 fell by 5-8 counts.
Wesleyan had another NESCAC matchup next, traveling to Bowdoin Sat., April 2. Bowdoin prevailed, 8-1, as a super-tie-breaker win by Smith at #3 provided Wesleyan with its team point. The final two singles matches were reduced to double-style pro-sets to expedite play.
Wesleyan steps outside of NESCAC play in its next match, a home affair vs. Mount Holyoke Wed., April 6.