BRUNSWICK, Maine - The Bowdoin College women's tennis team will return to the NCAA Quarterfinals after winning three consecutive singles matches to pull away from Middlebury in a 5-2 victory Sunday afternoon at Pickard Courts.
The seventh-ranked Polar Bears (16-6) advance to their third-ever NCAA Quarterfinal appearance and first since 2012. They also reached the final eight of the tournament in 2008. The 10th-ranked Panthers finish their season with a record of 11-8.
Bowdoin took a 2-0 lead in doubles action as the #3 pairing of Pilar Giffenig and Tiffany Cheng cruised to a 8-3 win and were followed shortly by Julia Likhanskaia and Emma Lewis, who captured a 8-2 win at #1. In the crucial #2 doubles match, Middlebury was able to keep its hopes alive as Alexandra Fields and Lily Bondy survived Samantha Stalder and Kate Winingham in a 8-6 triumph to make it 2-1 Polar Bears after doubles action.
In singles play, the squads settled in for a lengthy battle. Nearly 90 minutes into singles action, Middlebury recorded the first point when Margot Marchese posted a 6-3, 6-4 win at #5 to even the team score at 2-2.
Bowdoin replied with two victories within a span of a minute as Tiffany Cheng finished off Alexandra Fields, 6-3, 6-1, and Kate Winingham dispatched Kaysee Orozco 6-4, 6-4, to put the Polar Bears within a match of advancing.
The competition came down to courts 1 and 4 as they both entered their third sets of play. Stalder rallied from a 3-2 deficit at #4 to take a 4-3 lead and held off Bondy for the eventual 6-1, 4-6, 6-4 victory to put the Polar Bears over the top.
Middlebury and Bowdoin were tied a set at #1 singles and Bowdoin trailed a set, but was up 4-3 in the second at #6 when decision was reached. The match finished in a cumulative time of 3 hours and 42 minutes.
The Polar Bears advance to play Williams in the NCAA Quarterfinals on May 19 at the Biszantz Family Tennis Center in Claremont, Calif. More information about the championship will be available next week.
NCAA Division III Women's Tennis Third Round
Bowdoin 5, Middlebury 2
May 11, 2014 at Brunswick, Maine (Pickard Courts)
1. Julia Likhanskaia (BOW) vs. Ria Gerger (MID) 5-7, 6-4, 1-4, unfinished
2. Tiffany Cheng (BOW) def. Alexandra Fields (MID) 6-3, 6-1
3. Kate Winingham (BOW) def. Kaysee Orozco (MID) 6-4, 6-4
4. Samantha Stalder (BOW) def. Lily Bondy (MID) 6-1, 4-6, 6-4
5. Margot Marchese (MID) def. Emma Lewis (BOW) 6-3, 6-4
6. Kyra Silitch (BOW) vs. Dorrie Paradies (MID) 6-7, 4-3, unfinished
1. Julia Likhanskaia/Emma Lewis (BOW) def. Kaysee Orozco/Ria Gerger (MID) 8-2
2. Alexandra Fields/Lily Bondy (MID) def. Samantha Stalder/Kate Winingham (BOW) 8-6
3. Pilar Giffenig/Tiffany Cheng (BOW) def. Lauren Amos/Margot Marchese (MID) 8-3