Goshen posts first 3-0 league doubles day since 2006

GOSHEN, Ind. β€” Ashley Arroyo’s 6-3 third-set win at no. 6 singles sealed the deal Tuesday afternoon as the Goshen College women’s tennis team topped Mount Vernon Nazarene University 5-4 at the John Ingold Athletic Complex.

The match, which was each team’s season opener, marked Goshen’s first-ever win over the Cougars; in addition, it was the first Crossroads League win in Evan Atkinson’s three-year tenure as director of tennis.

The Maple Leafs opened the afternoon with a doubles sweep to take a 3-0 lead. Arroyo and Natalie Iholtz were the first match off the courts, winning an 8-5 decision at the no. 3 position in each player’s first college match. Megan Ewing and Hannah Behm followed minutes later with an 8-6 win at no. 2.

The final match of the sweep would not come as easily, however: Chloe Woodward and Victoria Oakes needed all 16 possible games of their pro set, a tiebreaker and five match points to prevail 9-8(5) at the top spot. After more than an hour and a half, the Maple Leafs had their first doubles sweep in a conference match since the team’s 2006 meeting with Saint Francis.

The theme of not coming easily returned in singles play, where five of the six matches required all three sets – and even the exception, between Behm and Ashley Weber at no. 3, included a second-set tiebreak.

While Ewing’s match at no. 3 singles did go the distance in name, a 6-1 final-set win for the Goshen High School product meant that her match was the first one off the court, giving GC a 4-0 lead. The Cougars followed that with wins at nos. 1, 3 and 5 singles, however, to close the team match to 4-3.

Some four hours and 15 minutes after the first ball was struck on an afternoon where the heat index reached 99 degrees, Arroyo broke Sarah Young’s serve in the ninth game of the third set to put Goshen in the win column.

That victory had an additional silver lining for the Maple Leafs’ lone senior: with the team match decided, when Woodward and Sarah Higgins split the first two sets, their match progressed to a match tiebreaker rather than the conventional third set. Woodward served first and changed ends with the lead at 7-5, but Higgins claimed five of the last six points to take the match with a 10-8 win.

“I cannot be more proud of our team and the fight we showed today,” Atkinson said after the match. “Both our veteran and new players stepped up on a brutally hot day to play strong tennis and start our season on a high note. These women work hard every day and show the effort they need to compete at a higher level. While our season is sure to have ups and downs, today is a high I will always remember for our program.”

Goshen returns to action on Friday when it hosts Olivet College of Michigan at 4 p.m.; the match will be the first against the Eagles in GC’s 47-year program history.

Goshen 5, Mount Vernon Nazarene 4

Singles:

  1. Casey Clark (MVNU) beat Victoria Oakes 3-6, 6-1, 6-3
  2. Sarah Higgins (MVNU) beat Chloe Woodward 7-6(4), 6-7(5), (10-8)
  3. Ashley Weber (MVNU) beat Hannah Behm 6-1, 7-6(5)
  4. Megan Ewing (GC) beat Laurel Sidle 3-6, 6-2, 6-1
  5. Aly Landis (MVNU) beat Natalie Iholtz 6-4, 5-7, 6-4
  6. Ashley Arroyo (GC) beat Sarah Young 6-2, 6-7(1), 6-3

Doubles:

  1. Oakes/Woodward (GC) beat Clark/Weber 9-8(5)
  2. Behm/Ewing (GC) beat Higgins/Young 8-6
  3. Arroyo/Iholtz (GC) beat Landis/Sidle 8-5