by Tom Utescher
To say that the Chestnut Hill College racquetwomen eagerly anticipated last Monday’s conference clash with Delaware’s Goldey Beacom College might be an understatement.
Last year the Lightning owned the CHC Griffins, going 3-0 against them in matches during the regular season, the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference Tournament, and the NCAA Division II East Regional. Gaining an early edge by winning two of the three doubles matches last week, host Chestnut Hill then went 4-2 in singles play to record a 6-3 victory.
In singles, the Griffins quickly won the number one and number three bouts to go up 4-1 in the team score. The decisive fifth victory came at second singles, where Lara Scholtze, a sophomore from Germany, came from behind in the second set to secure the match, 6-4, 6-4. Goldey got two wins in the other three singles flights, but that was a moot point.
The outcome kept the Griffins undefeated in the conference, at 5-0, and also overall, where the 7-0 record achieved by the CHC women includes a non-conference victory over much larger West Chester University.
As last week’s Goldey Beacom contest opened with doubles competition (these matches consist of a single pro set), CHC’s Scholtze and senior number three Iman Williams-Mulesa breezed through the number one match, 8-1, over the Lightning’s Nina Sengl and Marel Ann Van Zanten. Late last month Williams-Mulesa, who hails from Ontario, earned her 100th career victory as part of the CHC racquets program.
In the second flight, CHC number one Laure-Ann Josso (junior) and number four Axé Owens (senior) downed visitors Amina Mrad and Pauline Rozet by a score of 8-3. Goldey Beacom teamed up its number one player, Francesca Beg, with number six Maneula Cornejo in the third doubles flight, and they won in a 7-5 tiebreaker over CHC’s number five and six players, senior Hayley Craskey and freshman Julia Bellon.
Unlike some conflicts involving the English and the French, such as the Hundred Years War, the first singles match at CHC last week was over quickly, with CHC Frenchwoman Josso dispatching Goldey Beacom Brit Beg by a score of 6-3, 6-0. At number three, Williams-Mulesa played some long points, but ultimately didn’t give up a game to Sengl, crafting a pair of 6-0 sets.
Griffins number two Scholtze, facing German countrywoman Mrad of the Lightning, won the first set 6-4, but then fell behind 1-4 in the second round, a set punctuated by some verbal flare-ups regarding line calls. Chestnut Hill’s fired-up Fräulein refused to yield another game, rallying to win 6-4 and clinching the team victory for Chestnut Hill.
CHC’s Owens also found tough going in the latter stages of her match at number four. After winning the first set, 6-1, she was taken to a tiebreaker in the second by the visitors’ Rozet, but Owens eventually prevailed, grinding out an 8-6 win in the breaker. Two freshmen faced off in the sixth flight, and here the visitors picked up their first singles victory as Cornejo topped fellow rookie Bellon, 6-3, 6-3.
The Lightning’s Van Zanten won the last match on the court, getting past CHC number six Craskey, 1-6, 7-6 (7-4), 6-4.