On Apr. 15, twenty-sixth-ranked Colby Women’s Tennis hosted sixth-ranked Middlebury Panthers for senior day. The Mules were facing another top-ten Division III team; last week they fell to eighth-ranked Tufts.
Saturday’s match would be the twenty-sixth time Middlebury and Colby have played; the Panthers held a 21–4 advantage coming into play.
Prior to the match, Colby celebrated their sole senior Caleigh McClain `23 for her accomplishments in her four-year career and leadership as this year’s captain of the Mules squad.
At number six singles, McClain was one of three match wins on the day. Family and friends cheered her on as she celebrated the day with a victory. McClain dropped the first set, but found her forehand and shifted the momentum to dominate the next set, winning 6–2. By the time she had evened the score, the Panthers had already clinched the match, winning all doubles points and capturing the first, second, and third singles. With the match decided, McClain played a ten-point third set tiebreaker where she went back and forth with her opponent before narrowly winning 11–9. She celebrated the victory with family and friends who cheered her on behind her court.
First-Years Ellie Gershaw `26 and Isabella Suk `26 were the two other wins for the Mules at line four and five. Gershaw won her first set 6–4 before dropping the second 2–6. She found her composure and dominated the third set tiebreaker, winning 10–3.
Suk showcased the power of her groundstrokes, hitting countless winners on the forehand and backhand side to overpower her opponent, as she won 6–4, 6–2.
The next day, the Mules hosted thirteenth ranked Williams Ephs, who they fell to 2–7.
After the match, Gershaw shared her thoughts about the weekend of play and her successful first-year campaign.
“Obviously we knew these teams were going to be good, but coming in, Coach Reeves put this belief in us that we can win. I carry this belief throughout the matches and I can really feel that everyone is fighting out there. [That belief] allows us to compete well against top teams,” she said.
Gershaw has the best singles record on the team, recording ten wins to a mere three losses.
“One of the biggest reasons I have success in singles is because I feel that I can win every match. I’m confident in my game style. I feel confident every point, no matter who the opponent is,” she explained.
Gershaw also spoke on her captain McClain and what she brings to the team.
“Caleigh is able to make every situation lighthearted. Even if the team is feeling down, she’ll say something funny. She brings such a positive vibe to the team.”
The Mules have a lot to learn from their matchups and will be the underdogs heading into their next match as they face the seventeenth ranked Bowdoin Polar Bears on Wednesday, Apr. 19.
~ Julian Cangieter-Hernandez `25
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