THE LEAD: Clark Women's Tennis suffered a narrow defeat 5-4 at home against Worcester State on Thursday. Unlike Tuesday's match, the women took only one of three doubles matches, but fought back to split three and three in singles, ultimately coming up just short. However, there were a lot of positive takeaways from the match for the women.
Starting with doubles, the first match to end was #3 doubles when junior Zahara Shidad (Lewiston, ME) and sophomore Mahek Deora (Worcester, MA) were defeated 3-8 by WSU's Bekah Riley and Monica Mularski. The duo falls to 1-1 on the season when playing together. Following this WSU strengthened their lead at #2 doubles, when junior Elizabeth Tchantouridze (Northfield, VT) and sophomore Megan Balani (Braintree, MA) lost 5-8 to WSU's Charlotte Mullane and Emma Collings. The team fought hard throughout, but simply could not overcome their opponents. Finally, Clark took a point back at #1 doubles when senior captain Anna Gates (North Scituate, RI) and first year breakout Eleanor Hodgkin (Machester, ME) narrowly overcame WSU's Dominique Alves and Lauren Taylor 8-6. The Clark' duo's early season chemistry was on full display as the two worked hand in hand to defeat their opponents, and take back an important point.
The first singles match to conclude was #4 singles, where Clark's Tchantouridze increased her singles season to 3-0, defeating WSU's Mularski 6-3, 6-2. Tchantouridze has been blazing hot to start the season, and looks to make it four straight on Saturday. Next, Clark took the lead 3-2, when Gates won at #3 singles. Gates has been pure consistency to begin her season, and wears down her opponents, as displayed here when she defeated WSU's Collings 6-0, 6-2. Clark ran their lead up to 4-2 when Hodgkin got the victory at #1 singles. Hodgkin won the first set, then lost the second, but showed her grace under fire when she won the third set to secure the win. She defeated WSU's Alves 6-4, 2-6, 6-3. When asked what helped her comeback Hodgkin said, "I just had to refocus after the second set." Her focus helped propel her to a win. Worcester State began their comeback with a win at #5 singles. Clark's senior captain Chloe Dunnell (Montclair, NJ) put up a hard fight, losing a neck and neck first set 7-6, before ultimately losing the second set 6-3 to WSU's Mullane. Worcester State tied the match up 4-4, when #6 singles Clark's Shidad lost to WSU's Emily Costa 2-6, 6-7 in a narrow second set tiebreaker. Shidad never gave up and pushed deep to force the tiebreaker in the second set. The final match of the day was #2 singles, where Jillian Skulsky (Marshfield, MA) lost a tough three set match to WSU's Taylor 2-6, 6-2, 1-6. Skulsky fought hard to take the second set, and fought hard in the longest match of the day, but eventually came up short, as WSU won.
The Cougars will look to get back to .500 Saturday when they host Simmons college, in what should be a good rematch from their close win last year. That match starts at 1:00PM.