CARY, N.C. -- The first two women's tennis players from Bates to play in an NCAA Championship got just what they surely expected in the opening round of play Thursday: a really tough matchup.
Senior Meg Anderson (Cohasset, Mass.) and first-year Elena Mandzhukova (Lisbon, Portugal), came up short in their quest for All-America honors against Claremont-Mudd-Scripps duo Kristin Lim and Jessie Huang, as Lim and Huang advanced to the quarterfinals with a 6-2, 6-2 win over the Bates pair.
Anderson and Mandzhukova finish the season with a 12-8 record as Bates' top doubles team this season. The Bates pair also won seven of its last 10 contests, including wins over the No. 1 doubles pairs of No. 1 nationally ranked Williams, No. 20 Brandeis and No. 30 MIT. The pair helped lead Bates to one of its best seasons ever, which included a rise into the top 30 ranked teams in Division III (the Bobcats are currently at No. 28) and a 10-9 overall record.
Anderson and Mandzhukova’s 9-7 win over Williams duo Kara Shoemaker and Taylor French in the Bobcats’ season finale on April 28 likely clinched the team's first bid to nationals. The win moved the Bates pair into fifth place in the ITA’s Division III Northeast Region rankings, one slot ahead of the Ephs. Mandzhukova, Bates’ No. 1 singles player all season, is ranked eighth in singles in the region.
Mandzhukova's promising college tennis career has only begun, while for the team co-captain Anderson, it has come to an end, albeit an exciting end. "Meg has worked so hard for four years and I am so happy that she has this opportunity to finish out her career this way," said head coach Paul Gastonguay before the trip to North Carolina. "Elena has worked very hard to overcome nagging injuries all year, and she and Meg have really gelled into an amazing doubles team."
The Bates men's team remains alive in both singles and doubles play at nationals, as junior Rob Crampton (Wilton, Conn.) advanced to the singles quarterfinals on Thursday before teaming up with junior Matt Bettles (Taunton, England) to win in the doubles championship Round of 16.