Carnegie Mellon, Washington & Lee Advance to 2012 ITA Division III
National Women’s Team Indoor Finals
Tartans and Generals will square off at 10:00 am (ET)
GREENCASTLE, Ind. – After a long day of play at the 2012 ITA Division III National Women’s Team Indoor Championships, hosted by DePauw University at the Indoor Tennis and Track Center in Greencastle, Ind., two teams remain in the hunt for the title. Six seed Carnegie Mellon continued its outstanding play, sweeping seventh-seeded Washington University 9-0, while four seed Washington & Lee got battled past host squad and eight DePauw 7-2. The Tartans and Generals will meet on Sunday at 10:00 am (ET) to play for the championship crown. Wash U and DePauw will also play at 10:00 am (ET) in the third place match.
Carnegie Mellon stormed out of the gates again in doubles play, taking commanding leads at the first two spots. The Tartans top doubles duo of Laura Chen and Courtney Chin surrendered only one game to Evelyn Qin and Betsy Edershile, taking the match 8-1. It appeared line two was going to be even more lopsided, as Carnegie Mellon’s Katie Cecil and Chelsea Motie won the first seven games against Kate Klein and Theresa Petraskova. Klein and Petraskova managed to get on the scoreboard in the eighth game, building some momentum along the way to close the deficit to 7-4. However, the hole was too deep to dig out of completely, as Cecil and Motie eventually claimed line two 8-4. At the third position, the Bears’ Paige Madara and Corinne Rauck kept within striking distance of Bryn Raschke and Angela Pratt, but could never even the score after falling behind an early break. Playing from behind wore down the Wash U tandem as the match continued, and the Tartan tandem won the final three games for the 8-5 victory.
Carnegie Mellon has been fueled by
its stellar doubles play
In a similar fashion to its opening round match, Carnegie Mellon took all of the drama out of singles play by taking the first two matches off court to clinch the victory. At line three, Motie used her big serve to rack up free points, continually putting pressure on the serve of Klein. Motie was able to swing freely in her return games, managing the first strike in almost every point. Klein was no match for this style of play, and Motie cruised to a 6-0, 6-0 victory. Chen had an opportunity to provide the clincher at the first spot against Wash U’s Natalie Tingir, winning the first set 6-2 and serving for the match at 5-4. The variety of Tingir’s game caused issues at times during the match for Chen, with one of those times being late in the second set. Tingir was able to break serve for 5-5, and the set was eventually decided in a tiebreak, which Tingir won handily seven points to two.
One court over, CMU’s Cecil was looking to be the one to provide the fifth point for the Tartans, but she was also having a difficult time closing out Petraskova. Cecil took the first set 6-3 and held a 4-1 lead in the second, but Petraskova would not go away quietly. Cecil won a long game to extend her lead to 5-2, which appeared to take the wind out of the sails for Petraskova, who was now forced to overcome a large deficit to keep her team alive. However, Cecil picked up her level of play for one final game with the finish line in sight, defeating her Bear opponent to give the Tartans the insurmountable 5-0 lead.
The match at the top spot was the next off court, as Chen was able to respond well in the third set to take out Tingir 6-2. CMU also won at lines four and six in fairly comfortable straight set matches. The final match to be completed took place at the fifth position. The Tartans’ Pratt dropped the opening set 7-5 to Wash U’s Hanna Newstadt, but came back to win the second set 6-4. With the overall match having already been decided, the third set was reduced to a super tiebreak, which Pratt won 10 points to six, completing the sweep for Carnegie Mellon.
“I thought we came out sharper today,” Carnegie Mellon head coach Andy Girard stated. “We really focused on having a good warm up before doubles. That coupled with the fact that our players have had this weekend circled on their calendars for a long time now resulted in us coming out fired up. It was nice to take all the momentum we gained from doubles into singles. Tomorrow is going to be a tough match. I think we have very similar teams. We both have strong seniors mixed in with some talented newcomers. The two teams are really almost mirror images of each other. We expect a 5-4 match tomorrow.”
The Washington & Lee Generals had a much tougher time shaking off the hometown DePauw Tigers. Doubles action was a heated battle between the two teams, as all three matches produced a few momentum shifts. DePauw got on the board first thanks to an 8-6 victory at the first position by Kelly Gebert and Maggie MacPhail. The Tiger pair raced out to a 4-1 lead against the Generals’ Trelsie Sadler and Jen Snyder, but let the lead dissolve quickly to 4-4. Gebert and MacPhail rallied to take the next three games for a 7-4 lead, but still had to hold off one last surge by Sadler and Snyder for the 8-6 win. Washington & Lee countered by taking line two, an 8-4 victory for Sonja Meighan and Patricia Kirkland over Meg Crowley and Claire Marshall. Meighan and Kirkland also held a big lead, which disappeared completely, but the Generals steadied themselves to claim the final three games in the 8-5 decision.
The matchup on court three turned out to be a key factor in the match. Washington & Lee’s Meghan Buell and Lauren Lukas were up against DePauw’s Caroline Ernhardt and Kaitliln Pickrel. The Generals got out to a 3-0 lead, but the Tigers answered back right away to get the match back on serve. Ernhardt and Pickrel eventually earned the upper hand at 5-4, but failed to solidify the break. Both tandems protected their serves the rest of the way, sending the match into a tiebreak. Much like the start of the match, Buell and Lukas jumped out to a large lead, and this time they were able to hold on. Buell and Lukas claimed the tiebreak seven points to three, ending with an emphatic return winner down the line.
DePauw and Washington & Lee anxiously watched
the match at three doubles play out
The match appeared to be completely in favor of Washington & Lee, especially after the Generals won the opening set in the first three singles matches on court. However, Meighan was the only one able to close out her match in straight sets, defeating Gebert 6-3, 6-3 at the first spot. DePauw countered by taking the next match off court, a solid bounce-back effort by Marshall to defeat Snyder. Marshall dropped the first set 6-3, but stayed in the match long enough to allow Snyder’s mistakes to multiply in the second set. Marshall prevailed in the second set 6-0, taking full advantage of a frustrated Snyder in the third to win it going away 6-0.
The matchup at the second spot provided the final momentum shift of the match. Lukas, much like Snyder, won the first set comfortably 6-2 from MacPhail, but struggled to maintain a high level of play in the second set. She still held a break advantage all the way to 5-4 in the set, earning a chance to serve for the match. However, she was unable to close the door on MacPhail, as the Tiger was able to break serve to stay in the match. Each player held serve once more to send the set into a tiebreak, which MacPhail won seven points to five when Lukas sailed a return long. Lukas regrouped quickly in the final set, not allowing the missed opportunity to disrupt her mentally. She hung tough in several rallies early in the set, showing MacPhail she was not going away. Lukas secured a crucial break of serve at 3-3, seizing control of the match from there. She was able to serve out the victory the second time around, winning the three-set battle 6-4 in the third.
The Generals’ bottom three players finished off the dual match in impressive fashion, dropping a combined 12 games en route to claiming three more victories. Sadler provided the clincher for Washington & Lee, coming through with an impressive 6-1, 6-2 performance against Pickrel at the fifth position. The Generals’ Lindsey Burke took line four 6-4, 6-1, and Kirkland was able to run away with line six 6-1, 6-3, giving Washington & Lee its final margin of 7-2.
“Being able to win those two doubles matches really took the pressure off of our top three singles players,” Washington & Lee head coach Eric Ishida said. “We felt like three doubles really worked hard the entire match, and it finally paid off in the tiebreak. They fought hard and it was well-deserved. I was really proud of our effort overall today. Carnegie Mellon is a very good doubles team. I think both teams are very even across the board. We have to do things a lot better than we did today, but we are looking forward to it.”
Saturday also marked the completion of consolation action. In the morning session, top seed Chicago was locked in a tight match early with Johns Hopkins, but was able to pull away for the 6-3 decision. Three seed Claremont-Mudd-Scripps also won in the morning session, turning in an impressive 7-2 victory over the two seed Denison. In the evening session, Hopkins defeated Denison 5-1 to end their tournament on a high note. Chicago also claimed a thrilling 5-4 win over CMS in the final match of the night, closing out the event with a 2-1 record.