CLAREMONT, Calif. – One more rally just was not in the cards as the Linfield women’s tennis team ended its national tournament run with a 5-0 loss to No. 7 Pomona-Pitzer Friday in the second round of the NCAA Division III Women’s Tennis Championship at the Biszantz Family Tennis Center.
With the victory, the Sagehens (17-3) eliminated the Wildcats (16-5) from the tournament and will advance to the regional semifinals.
Pomona-Pitzer jumped out to an early lead by sweeping all three doubles matches. No. 1 pair Jamie Soloman and Kara Wang teamed to defeat Abby Olbrich and Sarah Click 8-4.
Arthi Padmanabhan and Samantha Chao crushed Sophie Larson and Caroline Brigham (Jr., Eagle, Idaho) 8-1 and in the final doubles flight, Nicole Holsted and Emily Kawahara did the same to Kiana Nip and Sarah Watanabe, winning by an identical 8-1 score.
Even facing a 3-0 deficit, Linfield could not be counted out yet. After all, the ‘Cats had come back to win their past two matches after being down 2-1.
But not today.
Despite a competitive effort, Pomona-Pitzer made quick work of a scrappy Linfield team, winning the second and sixth singles flights to secure the match win.
Jessica Hsu got the win over Sarah Watanabe at No. 6 singles by a score of 6-4, 6-2 before teammate Kara Wang finished things off with a 6-3, 6-0 victory over Sophie Larson.
The remaining singles matches were left unfinished.
Head coach Amy Dames Smith remained upbeat despite the outcome.
“Everybody competed really well,” she said. “All of the singles matches were pretty close; nobody got blown out of the water.”
It took a special team to make it this far into the postseason, something Linfield has done just twice in program history. In recognition of that feat, Dames Smith applauded her players.
“I’m proud of how we handled ourselves,” she said, “and how we competed so consistently throughout the entire season.”
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