Guided by 24th-year head coach Aldo Santiago, the Mount Holyoke College tennis team had a spectacular season with an overall record of 14-8. The mark is the second best record in school history, only surpassed by the 1999-00 team (15-9). The Lyons also went 5-3 in New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) action, advancing to the conference tournament for the 13th straight season and the third consecutive year in the tournament semifinals.
Mount Holyoke came out the gates hot, winning its first four matches, including conference victories over Wheaton (7-2) and Emerson College (9-0). The Lyons hit a slight roadblock with losses to MIT and Wellesley, but rebounded in late September with a 7-2 win against area-rival Smith.
Sophomore Ayame Yazawa (Tokyo, Japan/St. Johnsbury Academy (VT)), first year Ching-Ching Huang (Lukang Township, Taiwan/Taipei Municipal First Girls' HS), senior captain Alexa Colas (Teaneck, N.J./The Dwight-Englewood School) and first year Catherine Peabody (San Francisco, Calif./Lick-Wilmerding HS) helped the squad close out the month at the ITA New England Regional Championships at MIT. Yazawa highlighted the Lyons performance with a 6-1, 6-4 victory to advance to the round of 16 but later fell.
Mount Holyoke started October at home with a pair of conference wins over Clark University (9-0) and Springfield College (8-1), highlighted by senior captain Amy Chen who had a 6-0, 6-0 win against the Cougars and 6-0, 6-1 victory over the Pride, which sealed the Lyons spot in the upcoming NEWMAC Championships.
After shouldering a tough road loss to Babson to close out the regular season, MHC hosted the NEWITT Tournament and had a number of strong performances. In the opening round, the Lyons saw two duos advance to the main action of their respective draws, including Colas and Peabody, who posted clean sweeps. In the main C draw of the quarterfinals, Chen and Wang advance to the semifinals before later falling by a tough 8-5 margin.
The Lyons wrapped-up the fall schedule with NEWMAC Tournament play. MHC opened for the third straight season against Wheaton, hosting their fellow Lyons at the MHC Courts in mid-October. Powered by a dominant 3-0 effort in doubles, the squad sealed the victory as Chen won at six, followed by Peabody's win at four.
For the third straight season, the Lyons advanced to the semifinals, facing off against a familiar foe in MIT. Despite strong efforts across the board, MHC was unable to top the Engineers, who advanced to win the conference title.
After a three-month hiatus, the Lyons got back to work in the spring, kicking off the 2017 slate with a tough loss to Bates. MHC bounced back on their spring trip with victories over the University of Puerto Rico-Mayaguez (7-2) and Bayamon (8-1). In the second match again Bayamon, the Lyons dominated as four of the six singles efforts were 6-0, 6-0 decisions.
April opened with a stretch of five home games, including the 2017 Seven Sisters Championship. The Lyons suffered a narrow 5-4 loss to Connecticut College, but rebounded on the opening day of Seven Sisters to best Bryn Mawr, 5-0. MHC nearly pulled off an upset over Wellesley to close out the day's action, but fell 3-2. Day two of the tournament saw MHC defeat Smith (5-0) before facing tournament champion Vassar – falling 4-1.
Overall, the Lyons finished third at this year's championship as Huang and Peabody were both tabbed to the Seven Sisters All-Tournament Team. Mount Holyoke closed out the season with a pair of victories, defeating Gordon and Endicott by 8-1 margins on the road.
Leading the Lyons this year was Chen, who posted a team-best 15-1 record in singles, which is tied for the most wins in a season since 2008. She ended the season on a nine-match win streak and was 7-1 in doubles. Overall, Chen recorded a 15-7 mark in doubles action. Yazawa also had a strong year in singles, going 13-5, all from the top of the flight.
Huang and Peabody had excellent starts to their campaigns, going 14-6, and 15-7 in singles, respectively. Peabody ended the season with an 8-2 record over her final 10 matches, while Huang concluded the season on a four-match win streak. The top doubles duo this season was Huang and Yazawa, who accrued a 12-6 record, while Chen and sophomore Clara Wang (Madison, Conn./Daniel Hand) went 10-4, winning their last five.
• 14-8 overall record (Second best record in school history)
• Finished fourth in NEWMAC standings
• Advanced to the NEWMAC Tournament for the 13th straight year
• Advanced to the NEWMAC Tournament Semifinals for third straight season and the seventh time in program history
• Third place in Seven Sisters Championship
• Five named to NEWMAC Academic All-Conference Team