May 10, 2010

The fourth-seeded Middlebury College women's tennis team advanced past No. 5 seed Bowdoin in the Quarterfinal Round of the 2010 NESCAC Women's Tennis Championship at Amherst College.

            Middlebury took an early 1-0 lead in doubles play with an 8-4 win by rookies Leah Kepping (Northport, N.Y.) and Brittany Faber (Minnetonka, Minn.) at number three. The Polar Bears took the Panthers to extra games at both number one and two, with senior Jamie Haar (Alpine, N.J.) and first-year player Alexandra McAtee (Scarsdale, N.Y.) winning 9-7 at number one and sophomores Anna Burke (Summit, N.J.) and Victoria Aiello (Milton, Mass.) pulling out a 9-8 result at number two. The tough pair of losses in doubles put Bowdoin in a 3-0 hole, setting the table for a sweep by Middlebury.

            Earning the crucial points for Middlebury in singles action were Kepping and Burke in the number five and six singles spots. Kepping topped Bowdoin's Hannah Hoerner 6-1, 6-0, while Burke ousted Elizabeth Pedowizt 6-0, 6-2.

            The top of Bowdoin's lineup was doing its part in singles play with Kellen Alberstone and Emily Lombardi each up a set at number one and two singles, and Brett Davis sitting in a 5-5 deadlock with Faber at number three. It was too little too late for the Polar Bears though, as Middlebury advanced to the conference semifinals.

            Middlebury fell 5-1 to Williams in the semifinal round of the 2010 NESCAC Tournament at Amherst. The Panthers move to 13-5 on the season and are expected to receive an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament. The match was moved indoors to Mount Holyoke College due to inclement weather.

            In the regular season meeting between these teams, Williams won at No. 2 doubles but lost at No. 1 and No. 3. Those results were flipped in this meeting, with the Ephs taking two out of three doubles bouts to carry an advantage into singles play.

            After the No. 3 duo of Lucy Marchese and Caroline Capute cruised to an 8-1 win over Faber and Kepping, Aiello and Burke briefly tied things up by earning an impressive 8-5 victory over Kristin Alotta and Nicole Reich at No. 2 after being down, 5-4. It didn't take long for the Ephs to regain the lead, however, as the top pair of Grace Baljon and Taylor French took care of Haar and McAtee, 8-2.

            Reich gave the Ephs their third point with a 6-3, 6-4 win over Faber at No. 3, followed by Baljon defeating Aiello at No. 1, 7-6(4), 6-2. Capute secured her team a spot in Sunday's title match by taking care of Burke at No. 6, 6-2, 6-4.

            When play was stopped, Middlebury was leading in two of the three remaining matches. McAtee was on the brink of edging Alotta at No. 2, as she took the first set, 7-5, and was ahead in the second, 6-5. Kepping dropped her first set to Worley at No. 5, 6-1, but came back to win the second by a 6-2 margin and was leading in the third, 2-0. Rounding out the singles pairings was the No. 4 matchup between Marchese and Haar, with the second set knotted at 5-5 after Marchese won the first, 6-4.

• Women's tennis record: 13-5

• Up next: NCAA's - tba