WALTHAM, Mass. -- The 24th-ranked Brandeis women's tennis team came from three points down to tie the match against #19 Skidmore, but the Thoroughbreds took the next two matches to finish to hand the Judges a tough 5-4 loss in the opening round of the Third Annual Nor'Easter Bowl, co-hosted by Brandeis and Wellesley College.
Skidmore (12-2) looked to be in control after doubles play. Madeline Benn and Lee Ford knocked off Brandeis's ranked tandem of Carley Cooke (San Diego, Calif./Point Loma) and classmate Simone Vandroff (Moss Beach, Calif./Half Moon Bay), 8-3 in the top spot. Rachel Plevinsky and Zoe Vallela knocked off Brandeis's Allyson Bernstein (Northbrook, Ill./Glenbrook North) and Marissa Lazar (Hewlett, N.Y. / Lynbrook) with an 8-5 win. Skidmore then pulled out a long battle at second doubles to complete the sweep. After falling behind, 7-6, the Skidmore duo won three more games in a row over Roberta Bergstein (Hingham, Mass./Hingham) and Emily Eska (Princenton, Mass./Wachusett Regional), 9-7, to take a 3-0 lead into singles.
With rain threatening, Brandeis won the first three singles matches to finish. Cooke blistered Skidmore's Melissa Hirsch at No. 1 singles with a 6-2, 6-0 win. Vandroff followed with a 6-2, 6-1 win over Skidmore's Rachel Plenvisky at No. 5, while Eske tied the match at No. 4 with a 6-2, 7-5 win over Vallela.
With the match moved indoors as rain began to fall, Skidmore was able to take advantage of the faster surface and ended up winning a pair of three-set matches. At No. 2, Lee Ford took down Bernstein, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3. Ben closed out the victory with a 6-4, 2-6, 1-6. Senior Alex Katz (Philadelphia, Pa./Abington Friend) added Brandeis's fourth point at No. 6, 6-2, 3-6 and 11-9 in a third-set super tiebreaker.
The Judges will now take on Babson College tomorrow at 1 p.m. in the Nor'Easter Bowl for the second meeting in three days between the teams. Brandeis tooka 7-2 win earlier in the week.