HILTON HEAD, S.C. – The Baldwin Wallace University women's tennis team split a pair of matches with Roanoke (Va.) College and Eastern Nazarene (Mass.) College at the Evian Tennis Center in Hilton Head, South Carolina.
BW (4-4) fell to Roanoke (1-1) in the morning match by a final score of 5-4 and bounced back to beat Eastern Nazarene (11-7) by a 7-2 score in the afternoon.
In the first match, BW jumped out to a crucial 2-1 lead after doubles play with its points coming from the top two doubles teams. Sisters junior All-Ohio Athletic Conference player Imani Robinson (Cincinnati/School for Creative & Performing Arts) and freshman Jayde Robinson (Cincinnati/School for Creative & Performing Arts) cruised to an 8-3 win at No. 1 doubles. Freshmen Becca Liebler (Medina) and Ashtyn Morris (Salem) struggled initially at No. 2 doubles, trailing their opponents 4-1, but battled back to win seven of the next eight games to secure an 8-5 win and the second doubles point.
Roanoke was not fazed by the 2-1 deficit and came out firing on all cylinders in singles play. The Maroons won at No. 5 singles to tie the match at 2-2 before Jayde Robinson displayed a dominant performance with a 6-2, 6-3 win at No. 1 singles, regaining a 3-2 lead for the Yellow Jackets. Roanoke won at No. 3 and No. 6 singles to secure the overall team victory and all eyes turned to Liebler. The freshman had split the first two sets and was in the middle of a 10-point tiebreaker to bring the team score to 5-4. The left-handed serve was working well for the freshman and she breezed to a 10-3 win in the breaker and a 6-3, 3-6, 10-3 final score.
In the second match, the Yellow Jackets capitalized on strong doubles play featuring a slightly different lineup. The Robinson sisters were the first duo to walk off the courts with an 8-3 win. Junior Kathleen Moser (Strongsville) and senior Shannon Finkenthal (Beachwood) followed with the second point with an 8-5 victory at No. 3 while the Liebler and Morris pair were the last doubles match on the court, working hard for an 8-4 win and a 3-0 BW lead.
From No. 3 singles all the way down, the Yellow Jackets kept up their level of play despite the physical and mental exhaustion from playing two matches in one day as well as a rain delay. Following the 15 minute break, Morris, Liebler and Finkenthal finished within minutes of each other for wins at No. 3, No. 4 and No. 5 singles, securing the team win. Senior Academic All-OAC selection Kayla Eeg (Waterford, pa./General McLane) was the last one standing and pulled out an incredible comeback in her 10-point tiebreaker for her third set. The senior trailed 6-1 but ripped off seven straight points for an 8-6 lead and, as the sun was setting, won her No. 6 singles match just a few points later by a score of 6-4, 4-6, 10-8.
BW will play just two more matches down in Hilton Head on Wednesday, March 7, against St. John Fisher (N.Y.) College at 8:30 a.m. in a dual match with the men's team at the Hilton Head Beach & Tennis Resort and will take on NCAA Division II opponent Albany State (Ga.) University at 2 p.m. at the Palmetto Dunes Tennis Center.