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Women's Tennis Edged in Heart-Breaker by No. 40 TCNJ, 5-4

Natalie Williams
Natalie Williams

EWING, N.J. – Looking to make its way back into the national rankings this spring, the Haverford College women's tennis team showed it can compete with those nationally-ranked squads as the Fords gave No. 40 TCNJ everything it could handle before a heart-breaking 5-4 loss. The nationally-ranked Lions came through with the win after come-from-behind three-set victories during the final two matches on court.

Haverford secured its doubles point at No. 2. Emily Shutman and Lisette Pham won that match to put the Fords on the board early with their 8-5 win together. Nevertheless, TCNJ held the early advantage after doubles by winning the No. 1 and No. 3 doubles matches by respective 8-5 and 8-3 scores. Anne Tobin and Natalie Williams played No. 1 doubles in the spring opener for the Fords while Clara Farrehi and Sarah Evenson represented the Fords at No. 3 doubles.

Singles would be a back-and-forth affair to cap the thrilling afternoon. With Nos. 1 through 4 taking the court first, Natalie Williams quickly evened the team score with a straight-set victory at No. 4. Williams got her spring season off to a strong start with a convincing 6-1, 6-2 victory. The host Lions answered that match at No. 2 singles where Lisette Pham fell in back-to-back 6-3 sets.

Haverford roared in front with three-set victories from Emily Shutman and Isa Cossio. Both of those Haverford players were down a set before thrilling comeback victories. Making her dual debut for the Fords, Cossio played No. 3 in the singles lineup and leveled her match by turning the tables on a 6-3 score from her opening set. Cossio allowed just two games in the third set to even the team score at three-all.

Returning to her spot at the top of the singles lineup, Shutman put the Fords on the brink of victory with a 6-4 win in her decisive third set. She evened her match in the second set with a 6-3 win after a tough opening set. Haverford's senior co-captain is now 5-2 dating back to the fall in singles action. Shutman's win on Sunday avenged her loss to TCNJ's Liya Davidov from a season ago.

The Fords were a set away from victory as both Claire Johnson (No. 5 singles) and Anne Tobin (No. 6 singles) went up with strong opening sets. However, skillful tennis from the Lions allowed the nationally-ranked squad to escape with the victory by the narrowest of margins. Johnson cruised to a 6-1 first set victory. However, she dropped a hard-fought 7-5 second set before her opponent claimed the No. 5 match. Tobin was up 6-2 after the first set and also fell by an identical 7-5 score before the Lions clinched the match-winning point.

After starting its spring season with the earliest competition by calendar date in program history, women's tennis will now have three weeks of practice before the Fords return to live action down in South Carolina. The Fords are currently scheduled to play four matches in Hilton Head during spring break. The first of those contests is slated for Sunday, March 8 against Catholic. Time and venue assignments for those upcoming matches will be determined in the coming weeks.