WALTHAM, Mass.-In an intense back-and-forth match between the 24th-ranked Brandeis University women's tennis team and No. 14 Trinity College, the Bantams edged the Judges in the final match of the day. Trinity improves to 5-1 while Brandeis falls to 3-6.
In a tightly-contested match, the difference between victory and defeat came down to a thrilling competition at fifth singles. Sophomore Emily Eska (Princeton, Mass./Wachusett Regional) faced off against senior Elizabeth Gerber (Bethesda, Md./Stone Ridge). In the first set, Eska jumped out to a 3-0 advantage. Gerber quickly battled back, reeling off five straight games to grab the lead. Eska was able to eke out a hold to make it 5-4 but Gerber was able to close out the set by holding her serve.
As their second set was getting under way, all the other matches around them had come to a close. Before rain forced the competitors inside, the Bantams had claimed a 2-1 lead after doubles action. Seniors Allyson Bernstein (Northbrook, Ill./Glenbrook North) and Marissa Lazar (Hewlett, N.Y./Lynbrook) earned the Judges doubles win by cruising to an 8-1 victory at second doubles.
Once the teams made it inside, the first three singles positions were up first. Junior Carley Cooke (San Diego, Calif./Point Loma) defeated her opponent in straight sets 6-0, 6-4 while senior Roberta Bergstein (Hingham, Mass./Hingham) dropped just three games in her 6-2, 6-1 win. Bernstein was unable to complete a sweep in her two matches, falling 7-6 (0), 6-1 at second singles to tie the contest up at 3-3.
Next onto the courts were the last three singles positions. Fourth singles finished first as senior Senzo Mauve-Maphisa (Bulawayo, Zimbabwe/Dominican Convent) gave the Bantams a 4-3 advantage with her 7-5, 6-3 victory. Senior Alexa Katz (Philadelphia, Pa./Abington Friends) knotted it right back up for the Judges with a 6-2, 7-5 win that brought everyone's attention over to the second set of the fifth singles matchup.
In the second set, Eska duplicated her effort from early in the first set, again jumping out to a 3-0 advantage. The scene looked eerily similar as Gerber made her stand once more, surging back to take a 4-3 lead. This time, Eska rebounded earlier and knotted the set at 4-4. After falling behind 5-4, Eska put it all together and reeled off three straight clutch performances to take the set 7-5 and send the match to a third, deciding set.
With the match tied at one set apiece and the overall result hanging in the balance, Eska and Gerber began their final bout. After trading the opening games, Eska took control of the set by sandwiching two holds of serve around a break of Gerber to lead 4-1. However, Gerber would not be denied as she bounced back with four games in a row to take a 5-4 advantage. Eska was able to stop the bleeding by breaking Gerber's serve and knot it at 5-5. The next two games were all Gerber as she broke Eska right back and convincingly held serve to take the match 6-4, 5-7, 7-5 and give Trinity a 5-4 victory.
The Judges are back in action tomorrow morning with an 11:00 a.m. start at home against Bowdoin. The Bantams face off against Wesleyan on Thursday April 3rd at 4:00 p.m.