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Westmont Overcomes Alberta, Canadian Conditions

Warriors cede doubles but storm back with singles victories behind Mathews' gutsy match performance.

The visiting Alberta women’s tennis team may have felt right at home in Wednesday’s cold and blustery weather, but No. 25 Westmont warmed to the challenge and claimed a 5-4 victory at the Abbott Tennis Courts.  Temperatures hovered around 60 degrees with a cold northwest wind of about 15 mph.

The conditions, along with the teams’ return from a four-day break over the weekend, may have
contributed to the Warriors’ cold start in doubles.  Alberta (1-3) claimed wins on the Nos. 1 and 2 courts, with the Pandas’ Susanne Fleischhacker and Ingrid McKibbin beating Christina Klein and Lauren Combs, 8-1, and Olga Weber and Sara Hollinshead defeating Ilissa Mathews and Jennie Dunn, 8-4.  On court No. 3, Westmont’s Erin McGurty and Kristen Lee claimed an 8-5 victory over Rosaleen McLarney and Natasha Melnychuk.

Down 2-1 going into the singles matches, Westmont (4-1) used its depth to claim quick wins on courts five and six.  Klein defeated McLarney at No. 5, 6-1, 6-0, while Dunn earned a 6-3, 6-1 victory at No. 6  over Melnychuk.  At No. 1, Fleischhacker made equally quick work of her match with Combs, winning 6-0, 6-0.

With the team scored tied at three all, the match came down to the Nos. 2, 3 and 4 singles courts.  On each of those courts, Westmont had won the first set.  At No. 2 singles, Mathews cruised to 6-2 win over Weber in the first set.

"Coming into the singles match, I didn’t expect to win," admitted Mathews, a freshman.  "In doubles play I saw that she had a good forehand and made good strokes.  But she made some errors in the first set.  The second set could have gone either way."

Weber jumped out to a 5-2 lead in the second set but Mathews fought back, winning the next three
games to tie the match at five.  Weber then held serve, but Mathews matched her effort to force the tiebreaker for the final game of the set.

Mathews took a 4-1 lead in the tiebreaker, but surrendered the next three points. She claimed the next point and held a 5-4 lead and the serve.  After losing the first serve, Mathews won the second, going up 6-5 with a chance to claim the match.  But Weber won the first of her two serves to tie the score at six.  The opponents switched sides and Mathews scored the next two points to claim the tiebreaker, the set and the match.

The focus then turned to court four, where Lee had won the first set, 7-5, and was tied 5-5 with Hollinshead in the second.  Lee broke Hollinshead’s serve to go up 6-5 and then finished off the match by holding serve, giving Westmont the crucial fifth point needed to clinch the team win. On court No. 3, McGurty won the first set, 7-5, but McKibbin came back to win the next two sets, 6-2, 6-0.

The Warriors will be back in action at 9 a.m. Saturday when they host No. 6 Azusa Pacific.

Westmont 5, Alberta 4

Singles
No. 1 — Susanne Fleischhacker (Alberta) defeated Lauren Combs (Westmont) 6-0, 6-0
No. 2 — Ilissa Mathews (Westmont) defeated Olga Weber (Alberta) 6-2, 7-6 (6)
No. 3 — Ingrid McKibbin (Alberta) defeated Erin McGurty (Westmont) 5-7, 6-2, 6-0
No. 4 — Kristen Lee (Westmont) defeated Sara Hollinshead (Alberta) 7-5, 7-5
No. 5 — Christina Klein (Westmont) defeated Rosaleen McLarney (Alberta) 6-1, 6-0
No. 6 — Jennie Dunn (Westmont) defeated Natasha Melnychuk (Alberta) 6-3, 6-1

Doubles
No. 1 — Susanne Fleischhacker / Ingrid McKibbin (Alberta) defeated Christina Klein / Lauren Combs (Westmont) 8-1
No. 2 — Olga Weber / Sara Hollinshead (Alberta) defeated Ilissa Mathews / Jennie Dunn (Westmont) 8-4
No. 3 — Erin McGurty / Kristen Lee (Westmont) defeated Rosaleen McLarney / Natasha Melnychuk (Alberta) 8-5

Ron Smith is Westmont College‘s sports information director.

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