Seeds hold in first round of 2014 ITA Division III National Women's Team Indoor Championship
Defending champion Johns Hopkins leads top four seeds into semifinals
SKILLMAN, NJ (Feb. 28) - It was a good day for the top seeds at the2014 ITA Division III National Women's Team Indoor Championship, hosted by DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana. Led by last year's champion Johns Hopkins, the top four seeds all advanced to Saturday's semifinals: No. 1 Johns Hopkins will face No. 4 Pomona-PItzer, while No. 2 Chicago will play No. 3 Carnegie Mellon. Both matches start at 2pm EST.
Here's how the semifinalists advanced in their first matches:
#1 Johns Hopkins def. #8 UC-Santa Cruz, 9-0
The defending champion Johns Hopkins Blue Jays got off to a solid start to their title defense when facing the 8th seeds UC-Santa Cruz. The Banana Slugs were competing in their first ever match at the 2014 ITA Division III National Women's Team Indoor Championship and they had a tough task in playing the top seeds.
|Johns Hopkins' Amanda Austi won at first singles|
The Blue Jays got things rolling well in the doubles and got a 3-0 lead under their belts heading into the singles. At first singles, the first set between Blue Jay Amanda Austi and UCSC's Alexandra Scotten was tight. Austi had a 5-2 lead shrink to 5-4 but she was able to serve out the first set and then won the second in a more straightforward manner for a 6-4, 6-1 victory. At second singles, Johns Hopkins' Ashnaa Rao cruised in the first set 6-0 over Katy Collins of Santa Cruz, but was tested in the second before closing out a 6-0, 6-4 win. The Blue Jays won easily in third to sixth singles to advance to the semifinals.
Johns Hopkins head coach Dave Woodring said it was a great start for his team. "It's always nice to get off to a good start. It's unfortunate for a team flying in from the west coast - I think they were a bit tired from the flight and time change, but they are definitely a good team and I think they will do well going forward. It was a good match for us to get started and kind of find our stride and get some matches under our belt."
Johns Hopkins will face 4th seeds Pomona-Pitzer in Saturday's semifinals.
#4 Pomona-Pitzer def #5 Redlands, 5-4
The battle between the fourth and fifth seeds was unsurprisingly competitive, and Redlands came out ahead in doubles 2-1. At first doubles, Jessica Ly and Ceara Sumida outlasted Sammy Chao and Lea Lynn Yen of Pomona-Pitzer in a tiebreaker, 9-8 (7-1) to put Redlands ahead after the teams split second and third doubles matches.
In singles, the Bulldogs' Ly came back from a set down in her match at first singles with Chao of Pomona-Pitzer 2-6, 7-6 (7-1), 6-2 and her teammate Paige Press won her sixth singles match in two sets, but three other singles matches went in the Sagehens' favor as the team match became level at 4-4. The match came
|The Sagehens congratulate Rosemary Pelch after she clinched the win|
down to fifth singles, and freshman Rosemary Pelch was able to steady her nerves to oust Gabriela Vasquez 6-2, 6-2 to clinch the win for Pomona-Pitzer.
Drew Cohn, assistant women's tennis coach at Pomona-Pitzer, said it was a tough match. "Redlands is a good team. We've played them a number of times in conference play and it was a challenge coming out here to play them. They came out strong but I'm really proud of our team for doing a good job and staying with it and finding a way."
Next up for the Sagehens is top seed and defending champion Johns Hopkins, whom Pomona-Pitzer has never played. "It's exciting. They are obviously a good team but we feel strongly about what we can do, so we're going to come out and bring some energy in doubles and we'll have a good match."
#2 Chicago def. #7 DePauw, 5-4
The second-seeded Chicago Maroons faced a tough DePauw team, who had plenty of home support as the Tigers aimed for an upset. The doubles matches were all highly contested battles. Chicago was able to squeeze out a win at first doubles as Megan Tang and Helen Sdvizhkov defeated Meg Crowley and Claire Marshall, 9-7. But DePauw would take the lead heading into singles after Caroline Emhardt and Maggie MacPhail won at second doubles 8-6 over Tiffany Chen and Sruthi Ramaswami, and Tigers Julie Wittwer and Kaitlin Pickrel edged Kelsey McGillis and Laura Anderson 9-8 (10-8).
|Chicago's Megan Tang won in singles and doubles|
Behind 2-1, Chicago was able to get straight set wins at Nos. 1, 3 and 4 singles while DePauw won at Nos. 2 and 6 to level the team match at 4-4. With the semifinal berth on the line, all eyes turned to the fifth singles match between Sruthi Ramaswami of Chicago and DePauw's Maddie Lee. Ramaswami proved too touch for Lee, and she clinched her team's 5-4 win in straight sets, 6-3, 6-1.
Jay Tee, Chicago's head women's tennis coach, said he felt it was a good match all around.
"After doubles I was a little worried - we let a couple opportunities slip away. Then in singles everyone came out and took care of business. It was just a good college tennis match. We were fortunate enough to get to five."
Tee said his squad hasn't faced its next opponent, Carnegie Mellon, in a few years and he expected a tough semifinal. "They are a good, good team with a lot of talented freshman - it's going to be a tough one. We're going to have to be ready to play."
#3 Carnegie Mellon def. #6 Wash U-St Louis, 6-3
The 3rd seeded Tartans made their fourth straight semifinal appearance at the tournament, and they got off to a good start in the doubles. Their first doubles pairing of Bryn Raschke and Vanessa Pavia put Carnegie Mellon on the board with an 8-3 win. The Bears leveled the team match with a win at second doubles by Jamie Silverberg and Aly Coran, but the Tartans held on to a lead on third double as Katie Cecil and Nicholle Torres notched an 8-6 win at No. 3 doubles.
In singles play, Carnegie Mellon kept the pressure on Wash U with straight set wins at No. 2 and No. 4 singles to increase their lead to 4-1. Rebecca Ho of Washington gave her team its second point at No. 3 singles with a hard-fought 6-7 (4), 7-5, 6-2 win over Brooke Tsu. With a 4-2 lead still intact, freshman Vanessa Pavia would clinch the fifth point for her team with a 7-5, 3-6, 6-2 victory at No. 1 singles.
|Freshman Vanessa Pavia of Carnegie Mellon won her team's fifth point|
Both teams would add another point as the final two matches ended, as Tartan Nicholle Torres defeated Betsy Edershile 6-1, 6-4 at No. 5 singles while Washington would win the final match of the night as Corinne Rauck beat Elizabeth Martin 6-7 (5), 6-4, 10-8.
Carnegie Mellon's head coach Andrew Girard was happy to get through a tough opponent. "Everytime we play Wash U it's always a battle and we knew it would be another close one. We're definitely looking forward to tomorrow when we play another conference rival. It's been a couple years since we've played and we're looking forward to getting to play them."
Saturday's action kicks off with consolation play at 8:30am EST, followed by main draw semifinals at 2pm EST, and ending with the 5th and 7th place matches at 7:30pm.
For complete coverage of the 2014 ITA Division III National Women's Team Indoor Championship, please visit the official ITA event page. Follow the ITA onTwitter, @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, February 28-March 2.
About the ITA Division III National Women's Team Indoor Championships
The ITA Division III National Women's Team Indoor Championship is held annually each February. The women's event began in 2009 and will be held for the sixth time in 2014. The event features eight participating teams and is held over three days, beginning on Friday with the quarterfinals, followed by semifinals on Saturday and the final on Sunday. Two different schools have hosted the event, while Emory (2), Carnegie Mellon (1), Washington and Lee (1) and most recently Johns Hopkins (1) are past champions.