The court lights were still on when the Lady Dons arrived at Stanford last Friday, while most teams were already warming up – getting ready for what they all call a long day. These teams were familiar to our players as they were at the regional championships, and that many present teams had played at Berkeley and St. Mary’s too.
As usual, the doubles matches started at 8 a.m. Like at St Mary’s, players were sent to two different sites to play; the pair Mekpoh-Wartenburger was isolated on the second site, but played probably their best doubles together. While they should have won against a too often inconsistent team of UC Davis, they lost tightly (8/6). At the same moment on the other site, the Reed-McMahon and Gratian-Akerbrant doubles teams fought bravely against solid Washington and Cal players, respectively 8-5 and 8-4.
Our girls had to play their singles quite early after their doubles matches, except for freshman Blair Reed and sophomore Andrea Gaitan who had had a bye and were supposed to play in the afternoon.
The morning round was a good one with wins by juniors Julia Wartenburger against a UC Davis player (6/2-6/3) and Cecilia Gratian against a Cal Poly player (6/3-6/1). However, freshman Alana McMahon, junior Jessy Mekpoh and freshman Melinda Akerbrant played well against good players from Stanford, Cal and Washington State.
In the afternoon, only Gratian won her second round easily against a girl from Washington State (6/2-6/1), while Wartenburger had a tough match against a Portland player and lost it 6/1-6/1.
Gaitan also had a tough match against a very good player from Cal, and Reed had to fight very hard to win her first round against an Eastern Washington player (3/6-7/5-6/4) in almost four hours.
Reed was supposed to play her second round – already delayed – the same day around 6:30 p.m., but a general blackout prevented all the last matches to be played. The referee announced the matches would start or be finished on the Saturday. The Lady Dons were back to San Francisco at 10 p.m.
On Saturday, the women’s tennis team arrived a little bit later than the previous day, as they did not have to play the doubles. However, several of their singles started quite early.
Gratian finished her nice process against an impressive Stanford player (6/2-6/3), but she still tried to defend her chances admirably. Reed, tired and sore from the Friday, failed against a solid Cal player, quickly and neatly.
In the consolations draw, McMahon did a very last good match against a Santa Clara player, winning it 6/0-6/4. For her first match in the same draw, Akerbrant defeated easily an Eastern Washington player (6/2-6/2). Her second match was harder and high in intensity; she gave her best against this girl from Oregon but lost very closely 4/6-6/4 (13-11).
Overall, that was a good weekend and our Lady Dons ended their last fall tournament well.
In three weeks, they will spend a three-day weekend in San Luis Obispo to play team games against three other teams and finish to prepare next season.
Jessy Mekpoh is a member of the women’s tennis team.