The PPWT Team at the 2022 ITA DIII National Indoor Championship in Hen-tucky

The PPWT (Pomona-Pitzer Women’s Tennis) Team ended the 2022 ITA (Intercollegiate Tennis Association) Division III National Indoor Championship in Kentucky, with two commanding wins over Kenyon in the first round and CMS (Claremont-Mudd-Scripps) in the third-place match. We not only swept Kenyon, which finished the 2020-21 season ranked No. 4 in Division III, but also took down the Athenas, who claimed the ITA Division III Women’s National Team Indoor Championship in 2020.

The Sagehens battled through an almost four-hour match versus the University of Chicago’s Maroons. There was great tennis, energy, and fight on both sides. We picked up solid wins at No. 2 doubles, No. 2 singles, No. 3 singles, and No. 6 singles, but came up just short in the semifinal match. 

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 2

The Hens departed from Claremont around midday and arrived in the beautiful city of Lexington in Kentucky very late at night. Our awesome AirBnB, where we stayed for the 2020 ITA (Intercollegiate Tennis Association) Division III Women’s National Team Indoor Championships, is located directly across the street from the historic Rupp Arena, which is home to the Kentucky Wildcats’ men’s basketball team.

THURSDAY, MARCH 3

Following an amazing breakfast cooked by Alex Coleman ‘24 and Samantha Moore-Thomson ‘25, the team practiced on the indoor courts at the tournament site, the Top Seed Tennis Club, and prepared for our first round match versus Kenyon College.

The PPWT Team’s first practice on indoor courts in 2022 at the Top Seed Tennis Club in Nicholasville, Kentucky.

FRIDAY, MARCH 4

Pomona-Pitzer vs. Kenyon (9-0)

The first day of the tournament day began with a 6:15am Eastern Time wake-up call, breakfast, and a stretch. The team decided to wear stickers with the Ukrainian flag in support of Maria Lyven ‘22, as well as her family members who remain in Kyiv. 

The Sagehens started off strong with solid aggressive play in the 9:00am match, winning all three doubles matches against a feisty Kenyon squad. Maria and Nina Ye ‘24 defeated their opponents 8-4 at No. 1 doubles. On the next court, at No. 2 doubles, our first-year duo of Angie Zhou ‘25 and Marissa Markey ‘25 notched an 8-3 win. To round out the doubles action, Janie Marcus ‘23 and Georgia Ryan ‘23 came away from the No. 3 doubles match with an 8-5 victory over Kenyon.

We also swept all six singles matches since the first-round match was played to completion. Georgia added another point to the Hens’ total, with a quick 6-0, 6-0 win at No. 6 singles. Maria and Nina dropped only one game each at No. 1 and No. 2 singles by a score of 6-1, 6-0 and 6-0, 6-1, respectively. Janie had an equally impressive match at No. 5 singles, losing only two games in two sets with a score of 6-0, 6-2. Angie, who holds the No. 6 singles ranking in Division III, won 6-2, 6-3 at No. 3 singles. Her doubles partner, Marissa, triumphed with a 6-5, 7-5 victory over a tough competitor in the No. 4 singles competition.

Marissa Markey 25 and Angie Zhou 25 at the net before their first match at the 2022 ITA DIII National Indoor Championship. Assistant Coach Jada Hart, Georgia Ryan 23, and Janie Marcus 23 getting ready for the dual match versus Kenyon to start.

In the afternoon, we headed out and caught a bit of the Kentucky mens’ tennis match versus Alabama.

SATURDAY, MARCH 5

Pomona-Pitzer vs. Chicago (4-5)

We took on a very talented indoor team from Chicago.  Before the semifinal match, the Chicago Maroons were very classy, bringing both teams together for a few words of hope and safety for Maria’s family. They also supplied members of both teams with blue and yellow ribbons to wear in honor of Ukraine. This incredibly kind gesture was appreciated by our team.

Chicago’s hard-hitting, attacking doubles teams took us off guard during the first three games. The Hens adjusted well and fought back. Maria and Nina fell 8-4 at No. 1 doubles to Sylwia Mikos and Shianna Guo, who hold the No. 2 national doubles ranking. Meanwhile, the pair of Angie and Marissa, who are currently ranked No. 7 in doubles in Division III, pulled through with a solid 8-4 win at No. 2 doubles. Georgia and Janie had some chances at No. 3 doubles, where they were up 7-6. But the Maroons played a great game, winning the third doubles match by a score of 8-7(5) in the tiebreaker. Patria Aziz ‘23, Alicia Carmona Cornejo ‘24, Melisha Dogra ‘22, Amelia Poor ‘25, Alex, and Samantha all brought some serious noise and energy to support the rest of the squad—truly a remarkable effort!!

Although we were down 1-2 after doubles, Nina, who is currently ranked No. 3 in Division III, quickly defeated the No. 30-ranked player, Shianna Guo, 6-1, 6-0. Even with the score tied up at 2-2, the Maroons continued to swing for the lines in singles. Marissa fought her way back into a challenging match at No. 4 singles before losing 6-1, 6-4. On the next court, at No. 5 singles, Janie battled against Miranda Yuan, who is ranked No. 14 in the nation, and eventually was defeated 6-0, 6-3. The PPWT Team soon trailed Chicago 2-4 in the overall competition score, as Maria lost her first set 7-6(5) at No. 1 singles in a close tiebreaker.

The Hens began to shift the momentum in the remaining matches. Angie and Georgia toppled Chicago’s No. 3 and No. 6 singles players by the scores of 7-6(5), 7-5 and 6-4, 7-5, respectively. Their singles wins helped us pull the match back to 4-4, just as Maria claimed her second set 6-4 on the first court. All eyes were on No. 1 singles, with the PPWT Team cheering on the last Sagehen on court from the center line. The Maroons clinched the semifinal match, as Maria eventually ran out of steam in her third set versus the No. 10-ranked Sylwia Mikos. We would like to give a big nod to Chicago for coming at us the way they did. 

SUNDAY, MARCH 6

Pomona-Pitzer vs. CMS (5-1)

After CMS’ close loss to Emory in the other semifinal, we laced ‘em up for the first-ever Sixth Street rivalry played at the ITA Division III Women’s National Team Indoor Championships. Again, there was lots of energy from the two teams.

The Hens started out strong at No. 1 and No. 2 doubles. Angie and Marissa went up 4-1 on the second court, while Maria and Nina were up 5-2 in a hard-hitting competition on the first court. PPWT’s No. 1 pair won 8-5, while our first-year duo at No. 2 beat CMS 8-3. At No. 3 doubles, Janie and Georgia were down 0-5. But our third-year pair continued to try out various formations. They eventually captured four games before falling to a solid Athena duo of Alisha Chulani and Nikolina Batoshvili with a score of 8-4.

With a 2-1 lead after doubles, the Sagehens came out firing big shots in singles and even went up one or two breaks on five of the six courts. CMS fought back in many of those sets, but we ultimately captured the first set in each singles match. 

Every second set saw lots of back and forth between the Hens and Athenas. However, the PPWT Team closed out three more singles matches to clinch a 5-1 victory over CMS. In the No. 3 singles match, Angie beat Gabby Lee, who is ranked No. 15 in the West region, 6-0, 6-4. Our first-year Sagehen remained undefeated throughout the entire tournament, earning SCIAC (Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference) Athlete of the Week honors. Georgia triumphed over Athena veteran Devon Wolfe, who holds the No. 14 singles ranking in the region, at No. 6 singles by a score of 6-2, 6-4. On the other end of the courts, Maria defeated another Athena senior, Crystal Juan, 6-4, 6-0 to clinch the win for the Sagehens. 

As our amazing faculty affiliate David Becker, Emeritus Associate Professor of Biology, said after the match, “It’s a great day to be a Sagehen.” 

Coach Mike Morgan’s Thoughts

“I’m extremely proud of the love that members of our team have shown each other. We have an incredible group this year. 

The 2022 ITA Division III Women’s National Team Indoor Championships demonstrated how we could turn it around after a tough semifinal and finish on a solid note on Sunday. That is always a great feeling to have by the end of any tournament.

We were very fortunate to be joined by Angie’s family, Mrs. Markey, and Mrs. Marcus, and we’re so grateful for their support. Many thanks to Justin Cerny and the entire ITA staff for running such a wonderful event. We’re also thankful to the Top Seed Tennis Club for graciously hosting us a second time. Finally, thank you so much to those of you who tuned into the live stream to support the team.

After a heavy academic week, the Hens will face the Emory Eagles, who reached the finals at Indoors and won the 2021 NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) Women’s Division III Tennis Championship, on our home courts in Claremont on Saturday, March 12.

Come out to enjoy some sunshine and support the Hens if you can! As a heads up, there is a chance that there will be no live stream available on that day. A campus-wide power outage has been scheduled for Saturday, though we will do our best!! Stay tuned for more…”

(Images courtesy of the Intercollegiate Tennis Association, Pomona-Pitzer Athletics, and the Pomona-Pitzer Women’s Tennis Team)

2 thoughts on “The PPWT Team at the 2022 ITA DIII National Indoor Championship in Hen-tucky

  1. Always relish a victory against our 6th St. rivals. Impressive grit demonstrated particularly on the road and after such a late night flight. I particularly loved the picture of the team wearing the Ukrainian colors in support of Masha, her family and all of Ukraine. I suspect the tight loss to U Chicago will serve as high octane fuel for the rest of the season and, hopefully, post-season.

    GO HENS!

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