Washington & Lee Claims 2012 ITA Division III National Women’s Team Indoor Championship
Generals defeat Carnegie Mellon Tartans in dramatic fashion 5-4
GREENCASTLE, Ind. – The best was saved for last at the 2012 ITA Division III National Women’s Team Indoor Championship, hosted by DePauw University at the Indoor Tennis and Track Center in Greencastle, Ind. Four seed Washington & Lee and six seed Carnegie Mellon battled it out for nearly six hours, with the Generals coming up with the 5-4 triumph to take home the title.
In doubles action, each team took one court fairly comfortably. On court one, Carnegie Mellon’s Laura Chen and Courtney Chin broke serve for a 4-2 lead over Trelsie Sadler and Jen Snyder. The Tartan duo never allowed their opponents to get into the match after securing the break by continuing to put together solid service games. They broke serve again at 7-4 to earn the first point of the day for CMU. At the second position, General tandem Sonja Meighan and Patricia Kirkland trailed for a good portion of the match, but continued to fight back against Katie Cecil and Chelsea Motie. Trailing 4-5, Meighan and Kirkland picked up their aggressive play at the net, putting away a series of volleys to turn the match in their favor. The pair won the final four games of the match to take the 8-5 decision.
Line three appeared to be a lock for Washington & Lee, as Meghan Buell and Lauren Lukas jumped out to a 4-1 lead over Bryn Raschke and Angela Pratt. They extended that lead to 6-2, seemingly with complete control, but saw the lead slowly start to slip away. Raschke and Pratt were able to pull even at 7-7, and the match would have to be decided in a tiebreak. Considering the competitive nature of the match, it was stunning that Buell and Lukas were able to sweep the tiebreak seven points to zero to take the match and give the Generals a 2-1 lead.
Washington & Lee took a 2-1 lead into singles play thanks to a seven
points to zero victory in the tiebreak at three doubles
Carnegie Mellon, having swept doubles play in its first two matches, was in an unfamiliar position, but produced the same result once singles was underway: taking the first two matches off court in convincing fashion. At line three, Chelsea Motie once again came up with a commanding victory, defeating Jen Snyder 6-0, 6-0. Her win pulled the Tartans even at 2-2 in the overall score. CMU would take its first lead of the day with the next completed singles match, as Katie Cecil let an early lead slip away against Lauren Lukas, but was able to regain control of the match to cruise to a 6-3, 6-1 victory.
Washington & Lee got a boost of energy from its top player Sonja Meighan, who came through in three sets against Laura Chen to even the dual match score at 3-3. Chen was on top of most rallies in the opening set, moving Meighan around the court to take the set 6-3. She rebounded quickly in the second, earning an early break of serve, surging ahead 4-1. However, Chen would make a spirited comeback to get back on serve at 5-4. A few loose errors crept into Chen’s game at 5-4, including a netted forehand down break point to give Meighan the second set. Meighan was energized by the second set result, and Chen obviously deflated, resulting in a quick 6-0 third set in the Generals favor.
W&L's Sonja Meighan came up with a huge
win in three sets at the top singles spot
The lead was regained by the Tartans thanks to Courtney Chin, who battled through a tough opening set at the fourth spot against Washington & Lee’s Lindsey Burke before running away with the second 6-1. Carnegie Mellon looked to be closing in on the victory with Chin securing the team’s fourth point and Angela Pratt taking the opening set 6-3 at the fifth position. The Generals’ Trelsie Sadler dug deep to hang in the second set, breaking serve for a 4-2 lead. However, Pratt immediately broke back, attempting clinch the championship for the Tartans. Sadler was literally a handful of points from defeat, having to save a couple of break points at 4-4 before holding serve. The W&L senior came up big in the next game to break serve, getting some help from a wild forehand that missed wide from Pratt.
The third set between Sadler and Pratt provided a few more twists and turns, starting out with a quick break of serve against Sadler, who suffered a rash of errors to drop serve. However, down 2-0, Sadler was able to return to her consistent play from the end of the second set, rallying to claim five games in a row for a 5-2 lead. Sadler got some help from the net on a couple of big points, one on a perfectly executed drop shot, and the other on a passing shot that Pratt seemed to be in position to put away. Pratt was almost able to overcome these misfortunes, clawing her way back to get the set on serve at 5-4 when Sadler missed a second serve long, but was not able to hold serve in the next game. Sadler played a solid return game, mixing up her deep flat returns with her short slice returns, keeping Pratt off balance enough to break for the victory.
General Trelsie Sadler was able to stay loose during her crucial match at
the fifth singles position
While the drama at line five was unfolding, Washington & Lee’s Patricia Kirkland was taking on Cze-Ja Tam at the sixth spot. There was little between the two players the entire match, with each player content to work the point with heavy topspin from the baseline until given a short ball to attack. Kirkland was able to come up with some big shots late in the opening set to take it 6-4, but Tam did not wilt in the second, even after Kirkland broke serve for a 3-2 lead. With the pressure of trying to clinch a national championship for her team on each player, extended rallies and breaks of serve took over. Kirkland held a break advantage at 3-2 and 4-3, but failed to consolidate the break either time. Tam finally came through with a hold for a 5-4 lead, swinging the pressure squarely on the shoulders of Kirkland, who responded with a solid hold of her own to push the score to 5-5. In the next game, Kirkland once again managed to earn a break, which this time gave her an opportunity to serve out the match. As expected, it was not an easy service game for Kirkland. She earned a match point, but netted a shot she seemed to have lined up. She was able to put that behind her though, coming through with some aggressive play in the final two points to overcome her nerves and clinch the championship crown for the Washington & Lee Generals.
With far less drama involved, home team DePauw also took home third on Sunday, defeating Washington University 7-2. The Tigers began with a solid start in doubles, taking lines one and two for the lead moving into singles play. DePauw was able to shut the door on the Bears after the completion of the first wave of singles, winning lines one, two, and three to reach five points. Meg Crowley won at the third position easily 6-3, 6-0, while Maggie MacPhail survived a scare in the second set against Theresa Petraskova to close out the match at the second position in straight sets. DePauw’s Kelly Gebert also won the opening set easily against Natalie Tingir, but had to put away Tingir in a second set tiebreak to secure the win in two sets. DePauw also picked up wins at lines four and five, while Wash U won its only singles point at line six.