COLLEGEVILLE, Pa. – Behind a stirring performance from two of its first-year standouts, the Ursinus College women's tennis team gave perennial playoff qualifier Franklin & Marshall everything it could handle in a 6-3 Centennial Conference opener on Thursday afternoon.
Going indoors to combat the steady rain, the Bears (4-5, 0-1) were hot on the heels of a Diplomats squad that has made the conference playoffs each of the last five seasons. The home side's resistance was headed admirably by the rookie duo of Cara Freedman and Maddie Russell, who teamed up for a close win at second doubles before separating for a pair of impressive straight-set singles victories.
Freedman and Russell got Ursinus on the board courtesy of an 8-6 defeat of Emma Wu and Lauren Wang on the number two doubles court, cutting the Diplomats' advantage to 2-1.
While Franklin & Marshall (3-3, 1-0) managed to handle four of the six singles bouts, the visitors had no answers for the Bears' rookie stars. Russell knocked off Gavriel Rubenstenin in a pair of tight sets, getting the better of the key points late on the way to a 7-5, 7-5 score.
Freedman took down Marissa Witmer, 8-3, at number six singles to make it 5-3. Sophomore Madisen Harvey nearly made it a 5-4 final, but Alex D'Angelo eked past her by an 8-6 count at number five.
The Bears break from conference play with a road trip to Goucher on Saturday.