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
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
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