COLLEGEVILLE, Pa. – The Ursinus College women's tennis team gave a big scare to a squad predicted to qualify for the Centennial Conference playoffs, but the Bears came up shy by the smallest of margins in a nail-biting 5-4 setback to Washington College.
Freshman Maddie Russell continued her impressive rookie season with two more victories for the Bears (5-6, 0-2), who dropped two three-setters in singles play to see the bid for their first conference victory go begging.
Russell and first-year partner Cara Freedman had a 5-2 lead at second doubles when the Shorewomen (3-3, 1-0) were forced to retire, handing the home side an early upper hand. The visitors, however, won handily at number one and number three to take a critical 2-1 advantage into individual competition.
Freedman's opponent at sixth singles defaulted, putting the teams in a 2-2 tie. Sophomore Madisen Harvey cruised to a 6-1, 6-2 win at number five singles, offsetting a Shorewomen triumph at number four and knotting the ledger once more at 3-apiece.
With three courts remaining, Ursinus held a set lead in two of them. But Alisha White edged junior Caitlyn Sorelle in a 6-2, 3-6, 6-2 battle at first singles to put Washington College on the brink, and Cecilia Cress put the Shorewomen over the top by rallying back for a 6-7 (5), 6-0, 6-0 win over Bears freshman Brenna Trkula at number three.
With the result already in hand, Russell outlasted Ella Samer in a 7-5, 5-7, 10-3 thriller on the second court.
Russell has won both of her conference matches at number two singles and has teamed with Freedman to win their last three contests. The rookie duo is 8-3 overall on the year.
The Bears take on Cabrini on the road Thursday before resuming league play at nationally ranked Johns Hopkins on Saturday.