Seeded first in the Walker Cup ("C" Division) of the Howe Cup hosted by Yale Fri.-Sun., Feb. 15-17, Wesleyan is ranked 17th nationally. Taking on Wellesley to begin competition Friday, the Cardinals defeated the Blue for the second time this season by a 9-0 count, and third time overall in 2012-13. Wesleyan took eight matches by 3-0 sweeps as #2 Annie Maxwell '15, #3 Lauren Nelson '15, #4 Grace Zimmerman '13, #5 Nell Schwed '14, #6 Danielle Craig '13, #7 Claire Miller '15, #8 Kar-Anne Tan '14 and #9 Liza Bayless '16 (photo insert lower right) all won convincingly, with Bayless allowing just 10 points, nine of those in the opening game. At #1, Mary Foster '14 (main photo) had a see-saw battle, winning games one, three and five for a 3-2 victory.
Next up for the squad was a Walker Cup semifinal Saturday against Drexel, seeded fifth, which captured a tight 5-4 decision over fourth-seeded Mount Holyoke in its opening match. Wesleyan downed Drexel, 7-2, as Nelson, Schwed, Miller, Tan and Bayless all won, 3-0. Again, Bayless yielded a mere 10 points but even more impressive was Miller with an 11-2, 11-1, 11-2 conquering. Also in a repeat performance was Foster, winning 3-2 after leading 1-0 and 2-1. Zimmerman took her match as well, winning 3-1.
With Bowdoin prevailing over Hamilton in the other semifinal after both the Polar Bears and Continentals won their opening match, the Cardinals faced the Polar Bears for the Walker Cup crown Sunday. Each had a 5-4 victory over the other this season, making the final match of the year for both a true focal point to their respective seasons and the rubber match of the three-match series.
In another epic battle, Bowdoin came away with the 5-4 win. Using three courts, the teams were tied, 3-3, after two rounds as Wesleyan got victories from Maxwell, 3-2; Tan, 3-0; and Bayless, 3-1. Whichever team took two of the final three matches would claim the title. Foster won 3-0 for the Cardinals but Bowdoin took the other two matches to claim the Walker Cup. Foster, who returned from a semester abroad to resume her spot at #1 and post a 6-8 mark, was named first-team all-NESCAC for a second straight year. In 2010-11, she debuted on the all-NESCAC second team, making her a three-time NESCAC honoree.
With a solid 16-9 dual-match record for the year, the Cardinals had their sixth straight year with double-digit wins and had their highest win total and winning percentage since setting the program record with a 19-5 mark during the 1996-97 season. Wesleyan had 14 wins each of the last two seasons and 15 in 2009-10. Leading the team in triumphs in 2012-13 was Bayless with an outstanding 20-5 record. Equaling the team's effort with 16 wins each were Tan and Miller.
Foster represented Wesleyan at the CSA Individual National Championships hosted by Trinity Fri.-Sun., March 1-3. She dropped her opening match in "B" Division to Brown's #3 player, 3-2, then lost her consolation match to St. Lawrence's #1 player, 3-1.