The Athenas of Claremont-Mudd-Scripps began the 2012 campaign with an exclamation point, winning two matches on opening day. In the morning portion of the double-header, CMS defeated SCIAC conference foe Whittier 9-0. It was dominating performance, top-to-bottom for the Athenas. In addition to sweeping the doubles matches, the Athenas did not drop a single set to the Poets in the individual matches.
Immediately following the match against Whittier, CMS set off for a match against NCAA DII Cal State Los Angeles. The Athenas defeated the Eagles 7-2.
Reigning NCAA DIII Individual Champion Kristin Lim found herself in unfamiliar territory, losing the first set 2-6 and falling behind 1-4 in the second to Cal State L.A.’s Christie Lau. However the junior from Honolulu persevered, winning the next five games en route to the overall victory (2-6, 6-4, 6-2).
Sophomore Jessie Huang nearly completed an improbable comeback of her own. After dropping the first set 3-6 and falling back 1-4 in the second, she rallied back to take the set 7-5 and force a tiebreaker. In the third set, Huang was down 6-9 before reeling off three straight points to tie the match yet again. However Cal State L.A.’s Leora Hemmerich prevailed 11-9 to take the set and the match.
The strong depth of the squad shined as the Athenas took the four other singles matches in straight sets.
An early turning point for CMS came in the doubles portion of the match. The number-one team of K. Lim and Huang lost to Cal State L.A.s’ team of Lau and Larn McShane. However, the number-two team of Crystal Lim and Sarah Kukino countered with an 8-6 come-from-behind decision. The number-three team of Chloe Dobbert and Jaclyn Smrecek kept momentum in the Athenas’ favor with an 8-1 victory.
Reflecting on the full day of competition, coach Max Retzlaff said, “A great team effort from the entire team today. We battled well mentally and physically. I am very proud of the Athenas for the level of tennis they demonstrated on the court today. We are going to have a fun season, watching a high level of play.”
CMS will return to action next weekend, February 25, against Bates College at the Biszantz Family Tennis Center.