SOUTH HADLEY, Mass. - Tufts University got off to a fast start and held strong in the later matches enroute to a 6-3 victory over Mount Holyoke College in action at the MHC Courts on Saturday afternoon. With the win, the #26 Jumbos move to 6-4, having also defeated William Smith (5-4) in the earlier match, while the #27 Lyons slip to 4-10 overall.
Tufts grabbed a 4-0 lead after the first round of action on Saturday, led by a hard-fought effort at the sixth position by first year Chista Irani (Mumbai, India/The Taft School), who rallied against MHC senior Annie Wong (Oakland, Calif./The College Preparatory School) for wins in the third and fourth games. The final margin was 11-5, 10-12, 11-7, 13-11.
The fourth position match also saw a strong effort as MHC first year Lessly Portillo (New Haven, Conn./Hill Regional Career Magnet) opened with an 11-6 win. Despite the momentum, Jumbos sophomore Claudia Udolf (West Hartford, Conn./Kingswood-Oxford) battled back, sweeping the final games for a 3-1 (6-11, 11-7, 11-9, 11-7) win.
In the odd matches, first year Isabella Libassi (Greenwich, Conn./Convent of the Sacred Heart) got the better of MHC sophomore Kirina Gair-MacMichael (West Hartford, Conn./Ethel Walker School), rallying from an opening game loss to sweep three for the 3-1 (4-11, 11-1, 11-7, 11-0) victory at nine.
Mount Holyoke grabbed its first point of the match at the top of the ladder as sophomore Brandy Williamson (New York, N.Y./Thurgood Marshall Academy) posted a 3-0 (11-5, 11-4, 11-8) win against Tufts senior Paget Stanco (Rye, N.Y./Choate Rosemary Hall).
Sophomore Emily Chang (Carmichael, Calif./Mira Loma) picked up the next Lyons point as she battled tooth and nail against first year Sinclair Meggitt (Princeton, N.J./Lawrenceville School) at five. After shouldering the loss in the opening game, Chang stormed back for a second frame victory. The two traded wins as Meggitt won the third and Chang grabbed the win in four to set up the deciding game. It was Chang who prevailed, gutting out an 11-6 win for the 3-2 victory (8-11, 11-6, 8-11, 11-5, 11-6).
The last match of the afternoon came at the seventh position as MHC senior Rose Minichiello (Collinsville, Conn./Canton) squared-off against Tufts sophomore Gabi Salomon (Stamford, Conn./Rye Country Day). It would be Salomon with the opening win, but Minichiello responded to go up 2-1 after three. The fourth game saw Salomon battle back, but Minichiello held her off in the deciding frame with an 11-8 win. The final line score of the match was 7-11, 11-5, 11-8, 5-11, 11-8.
Mount Holyoke is back in action on Wednesday when it hosts Connecticut College at 7pm. The Lyons will also honor their three graduating seniors. Tufts is right back on the court on Sunday, hosting Connecticut College at 1pm at Belmont Hill.