Women's Tennis Falls to Middlebury in Dramatic Regional Final Match

Women's Tennis Falls to Middlebury in Dramatic Regional Final Match
Emma Lewis (left) and Kate Winingham both picked up singles wins against Wash U

BRUNSWICK, Maine - The Middlebury College women's tennis team took a 4-1 lead and held off a late Bowdoin rally in an eventual 5-3 win in the Regional Finals of the NCAA Division III Tournament Sunday afternoon at Maine Pines Tennis Club.

The Panthers (13-6) advance to the NCAA Division III Quarterfinals to be held May 20 in Kalamazoo, Michigan, against the winner of Sewanee and Emory. The Polar Bears finish an exceptional year with a record of 15-5.

Sunday's victory gained a measure of revenge for the Panthers, who had lost the regular season meetings between the squads, 5-4 on April 13, and fell to Bowdoin in the same round of the Division III Championship last spring.

Middlebury gained an early advantage thanks to a convincing 8-2 win by #1 doubles team Lok-Sze Leung/Ria Gerger. Bowdoin tied the contest moments later with a 8-5 win from #3 duo Emma Lewis/Kate Winingham, but the Panthers earned an important victory at #1 doubles, 8-6 from Leah Kepping/Brittany Faber, to take a 2-1 advantage heading into singles play.

Middlebury's top two singles players cruised to straight-set wins to quickly push the margin to 4-1. Gerger took a 6-1, 6-1 win at #1 before Leung earned a 6-2, 6-0 win at #1 for the Panthers.

Needing to win all the remaining singles matches, Bowdoin began to close the gap as Lewis took a straight-set 6-4, 6-1 win at #5 singles for the Polar Bears. Winingham rallied from a second-set deficit to net a 6-3, 7-6 win at #4 to trim the lead to 4-3 with two matches remaining.

Bowdoin had claimed the first sets in both matches- at #3 between Tiffany Cheng and Kepping, and at #6 between Emma Chow and Faber - only to see their Panther opponents rally to take second sets and knot the match.  In a back-and-forth affair at #6, it was Faber who rallied from a 5-4 hole to clinch it with a 3-6, 6-3, 7-5 win and send Middlebury to Kalamazoo.

Middlebury 5, Bowdoin 3
Singles competition
1. Lok-Sze Leung (MID) def. Kellen Alberstone (BOW) 6-2, 6-0
2. Ria Gerger (MID) def. Chantalle Lavertu (BOW) 6-1, 6-1
3. Tiffany Cheng (BOW) vs. Leah Kepping (MID) 6-4, 0-6, 3-4, unfinished
4. Kate Winingham (BOW) def. Margot Marchese (MID) 6-3, 7-6
5. Emma Lewis (BOW) def. Dorrie Paradies (MID) 6-4, 6-1
6. Brittany Faber (MID) def. Emma Chow (BOW) 3-6, 6-3, 7-5

Doubles competition
1. Leah Kepping/Brittany Faber (MID) def. Tiffany Cheng/Emma Chow (BOW) 8-6
2. Lok-Sze Leung/Ria Gerger (MID) def. Kellen Alberstone/Chantalle Lavertu (BOW) 8-2
3. Emma Lewis/Kate Winingham (BOW) def. Dorrie Paradies/Katie Paradies (MID) 8-5