Photo by Michael Wong
PASADENA (Feb. 24, 2017) – Junior Erin Wang (Auburn, Calif. / Del Oro) won the clinching point for Caltech women's tennis and the Beavers' rookie duo remained unbeaten despite stepping up a court in a tense 5-4 victory over Bates College on Friday evening.
Bates picked up the first point with an 8-0 win at #2 doubles as the Beavers were forced to move their regular #3 duo up a court in the absence of sophomore Julia Reisler (Plano, Texas / Greenhill). After trailing by early breaks at both #1 and #3, Caltech bounced back with breaks midway through both matches and finally evened the score as freshmen Alexandra Bodrova (Russia / Kurchatovskaya School) and Angelica Zhou (Temple City, Calif. / Arcadia) claimed an 8-6 victory in their first career match at the top spot.
After getting back on serve at 5-4, Wang and sophomore Kana Moriyama (Redmond, Wash. / Redmond) held pace with the Bobcats' #3 pairing all the way through to 8-8, sending it into a tiebreak. Neither team was able to separate by much over the first 14 points, but Caltech came away with the final two for the hard-fought 9-8 (7) victory to stake the Beavers to a crucial 2-1 lead heading into singles.
Things quickly went south for Caltech as Bates took the first set on four courts, but Zhou and Bodrova kept enough hope alive with early leads at #2 and #3 that the Beavers began to rally in short order. Just as Bates tied the score with a win at court #4, Wang finished off a 6-2 second set at #5 and both Moriyama and junior Vinci Chen (Austin, Texas / Westwood) got back on serve in their second sets. Both would ultimately fall, but Zhou meanwhile claimed #2 by a score of 6-2, 6-3 and was soon followed by Bodrova, who fought off a late rally attempt for the 6-4, 7-5 win.
That left just Wang, who led 3-2 on the final court as both teams crowded around. With her teammates cheering her on, the Beavers' winningest player over the last two years came up in the clutch as she typically does, winning the next three games to put Caltech back above .500 on the young season.
Head Coach Mandy Gamble and the Beavers will enjoy a week's break from competition before returning to SCIAC play vs. No. 40 Cal Lutheran University (1-3 overall, 1-1 SCIAC) in Pasadena on Friday, Mar. 3 at 3 p.m.