April 21, 2009

Women's tennis pushes No. 29 MIT to the brink before dropping 5-4 decision

WALTHAM, Mass. - The Brandeis women's tennis team pushed 29th-ranked MIT to the brink, owning a 4-3 lead and three match points to earn the upset, but the Engineers were able to escape with a 5-4 victory indoors at the Gosman Athletic Center.

Brandeis (10-7) jumped out to a 2-0 lead after doubles action. Sophomores Mackenzie Gallegos (Friendswood, Texas/Friendswood) and Rachel Rosman (Bonita Springs, Fla./Estero) earned an 8-5 win at No. 1, while juniors Ariana Sanai (Hopewell Junction, N.Y./John Jay) and Emily Weisberger (Wayne, N.J./Wayne Hills) earned an 8-3 victory at No. 3. MIT (12-6) seniors Karina Pikart (Granada Hills, Calif./Cleveland) and Yi Wang (Woodinville, Wash./Inglemoor) got the Engineers on the board at No. 2, 8-4.

In singles action, junior Leslie Hansen (Fairfax, Va./Jefferson Science and Technology) evened the match at No. 1, 7-6 (7-5), 6-3, while rookie Ana Vishnnevetsky (Orange, Conn./Hopkins School) outlasted Brandeis senior Gabrielle Helfgott (Newton, Mass./Noble & Greenough) at No. 2, 5-7, 6-4, 7-5. Sanai rallied to defeat Wang at No. 3, 3-6, 6-0, 7-5, to make the last three matches the decisive ones.

Gallegos topped MIT's Melissa Diskin (Newport News, Va./Warwick) relatively quickly at No. 4, 6-3, 6-2, while Pikhart did the same to Judge rookie Nina Levine (Westport, Conn./Staples) at No. 6, 6-2, 6-2.

That left the match up to the No. 5 players, Weisberger and Engineer junior Anisa McCree (Acton, Mass./Acton-Boxborough). Weisberger rolled in the first set, 6-1, but McCree took the second, 6-4. The third set started with four straight breaks of serve before Weisberger held to go up 3-2. She earned a break for a 4-2 lead, but McCree broke back and then held, tying the set at 4-4. After Weisberger held to 5-4, she went up 0-40 to earn three match points. McCree was able to battle back and used the momentum to win the next two games and, after holding off two attempts to break back, took the set, 7-5, and clinched the match for MIT.

Brandeis is next in action Friday, when they host the first round of the University Athletic Association tournament. The time and opponent are to be determined, but it will likely be another nationally-ranked foe. MIT travels to No. 18 Bowdoin Saturday at noon.

NCAA WOMEN'S TENNIS
#29 MIT 5, Brandeis 4
Apr 21, 2009 at Waltham, Mass.

Singles
1. Lesley Hansen (MIT) def. Rachel Rosman (BRWTEN) 7-6 (7-5), 6-3
2. Ana Vishnevetsky (MIT) def. Gabrielle Helfgott (BRWTEN) 5-7, 6-4, 7-5
3. Ariana Sanai (BRWTEN) def. Yi Wang (MIT) 3-6, 6-0, 7-5
4. Mackenzie Gallegos (BRWTEN) def. Melissa Diskin (MIT) 6-3, 6-2
5. Anisa McCree (MIT) def. Emily Weisberger (BRWTEN) 1-6, 6-4, 7-5
6. Karina Pikhart (MIT) def. Nina Levine (BRWTEN) 6-2, 6-2

Doubles
1. Gallegos/Rosman (BRWTEN) def. Hansen/Vishnevetsky (MIT) 8-5
2. Pikhart/Wang (MIT) def. Helfgott/Levine (BRWTEN) 8-4
3. Sanai/Weisberger (BRWTEN) def. Diskin/McCree (MIT) 8-3

Team Records
MIT 12-6; National ranking #29
Brandeis 10-7