Third Straight Johns Hopkins, Carnegie Mellon Final Set at ITA Division III National Women's Team Indoor Championship
Top two seeds both edge opponents 5-4
GREENCASTLE, IN (Feb. 28) - For the third consecutive year, the final of the ITA Division III National Women's Team Indoor Championship will feature Johns Hopkins and Carnegie Mellon. The top two seeds came through their respective semifinals with gritty 5-4 wins and will play for the title at 10am EST on Sunday at DePauw University. Live scoring will be available for the championship and third-place matches tomorrow, with links available at the top of this page.
The Blue Jays have won both prior match-ups at the ITA National Indoors to claim back-to-back titles and five consecutive matches against Carnegie Mellon, with three of those meetings ending 5-4. The last win for the Tartans over Johns Hopkins came on April 15, 2012. Carnegie Mellon is making its fourth consecutive and fifth overall appearance in the ITA National Indoor final, and the Tartans are seeking their first championship since the tournament's inaugural year in 2009.
Third-seeded Washington University-St. Louis and (5) Chicago will play for third place on Sunday, with the consolation match also starting at 10am EST.
(1) Johns Hopkins def. (5) Chicago, 5-4
Johns Hopkins was strong in the middle of the lineup on Saturday, earning a hard-fought 5-4 win over Chicago. With only two courts available at the start, the Blue Jays raced out to a 3-0 lead at second doubles that they would not relinquish in an 8-4 victory.
Megumi Chen, Johns Hopkins
Johns Hopkins led 6-5 at No. 1 doubles when returns strengthened and there were four straight breaks. It looked as if the Blue Jays would break the trend at 8-7, 40-love, but the Maroons rattled off five straight points to mark the fifth consecutive break and force a tie-break. Chicago prevailed in the tie-break, knotting the team score up at one apiece.
After the Blue Jays claimed the third doubles point, the top three singles matches all finished in straight sets, with Chicago triumphing at Nos. 1 and 2 to tie the score once again at 3-all. The final three matches went on relatively close together, so the tension was briefly broken. At fifth singles, Megumi Chen put the Blue Jays back ahead with a 6-4, 6-0 win, but the other two matches would go the distance.
After clinching yesterday, Johns Hopkins' Jody Law served for the match against Chicago's Tiffany Chen at 5-3. Chen blasted three huge returns from the deuce side to break, but Law would not be denied, breaking back for the 2-6, 6-1, 6-4 win.
"I walked over on the court and she was being outplayed," Johns Hopkins head coach Dave Woodring said. "She changed it up a little bit and came through. She's a real fighter."
"I want to mention that Jay at Chicago has done a great job bringing the team back from a little turmoil when he took over," Woodring added. "He's done a great job in recruiting for both the men's and women's teams. Congratulations to them, they're a really strong team. They gave us everything we could handle."
Woodring is proud of his team's continued success.
"It means a lot to the program," he said. "I think it's a testament to the girls that come in here. It's a great representation for what student-athletes are. These girls spend hours in the library studying and come out and get to the finals three years in a row. I'm really impressed with the girls."
(2) Carnegie Mellon def. (3) Washington University-St. Louis, 5-4
The Tartans pushed their on-court time to over 14 hours in just two days, after once again needing north of seven hours to tally a 5-4 win.
Stacy Chang, Carnegie Mellon
"We're hoping to play seven hours again tomorrow," Carnegie Mellon head coach Andy Girard said. "We apparently like to make things exciting out there. All these matches feature good teams. When you play good competitors, they're going to make comebacks and runs. The most important thing is how you answer those runs. We've answered them well so far."
Just like yesterday, the Tartans split second and third doubles and held a 7-4 lead at first doubles before dropping four straight games. Keeping to the storyline, senior Bryn Raschke and freshman Cori Sidell forced a tie-break and even won 8-6 for the second day in a row to give Carnegie Mellon the 2-1 lead.
Nicholle Torres won in straight sets again on Saturday to create a little space for the Tartans, but long three-set matches at first and second singles both ended in favor of Wash U.-St. Louis, tying the match at 3-all.
The two sides also split the fourth and fifth singles matches, so the Tartans would have to rely on line six once again. This time it was Stacy Chang in that role, who had just won the first set when the match evened at 4-all. The second set went to a tie-break, and Chang sent a flurry of shots long to lose the first six points and eventually the tie-break, 7-1.
However, Chang regained her composure and powered through the final set without giving up a game to put the Tartans in their fourth straight ITA National Team Indoor final.
"Stacy really stepped up big," Girard said. "It's tough losing a tiebreaker going into a third set. The weight of the world on the shoulders of a freshman; it's 4-4, last match on and everybody is up top watching. She was relentless and kept going after it. She came up with some huge serves, huge returns and just put her foot on the gas."
In consolation action, Washington & Lee topped Skidmore 5-4 and Sewanee won its first ever match at this event in a 5-4 win over host DePauw. The Generals went on to win 5th place by knocking off Sewanee, 6-3. DePauw ended the weekend on a high note with a 6-3 victory over Skidmore in a match that finished after 4am EST.
For complete coverage of the 2015 ITA Division III National Women's Team Indoor Championship, please visit the official ITA event page. Follow the ITA on Twitter, @ITAtennis, for updates and news from the weekend's events and be sure to like us on Facebook for photos and more. Use the hashtag #D3Indoors for all tweets in regards to the event, or search the term "D3Indoors" to find others who are tweeting from across the nation about this year's championship.
About the ITA Division III National Women's Team Indoor Championships