May 17, 2010

The Middlebury College women's tennis team saw its season come to an end with a 5-1 loss in the NCAA Regional Finals to top-ranked Amherst  The Panthers finish their season with a 14-6 mark.

            In doubles play, Amherst quickly took a 1-0 lead with an 8-3 win at number two by Jill Wexler and Natasha Brown over sophomores Anna Burke (Summit, N.J.) and Victoria Aiello (Milton, Mass.). The Lord Jeffs pushed their lead to 2-0 as Brittany Berckes and Laura Danzig won by the same 8-3 score at number one over senior Jamie Haar (Alpine, N.J.) and first-year player Alexandra McAtee (Scarsdale, N.Y.). The Panthers closed the gap to 2-1 before the changeover to singles play when rookies Leah Kepping (Northport, N.Y.) and Brittany Faber (Minnetonka, Minn.) pulled out an 8-6 win over Carlissa King and Caroline Richman at number three.

            Amherst took a 3-1 lead as Wexler cruised to a straight set 6-1, 6-1 win over Haar at number four singles. The Jeffs closed in on the win shortly after with Carlissa King handing Faber a 6-3, 6-2 defeat at number three. Brittany Berckes closed out the win over Aiello 6-4, 6-3 at number one, ending the match with a 5-1 win for the Lord Jeffs.

            Amherst held a lead in two of the three remaining matches when play was halted. Laura Danzig held a 2-0 lead in a second-set tiebreaker against McAtee, with Danzig having won the first set 6-4. Laken King topped Burke 7-5 in the first set, and was tied 1-1 in the second stanza. At number five, Kepping held a lead over Amherst's Natasha Brown, winning the first set 6-4, before sitting tied at 2-2 in the second.

            Middlebury advanced to the regional final after a 5-3 win over Bowdoin on Saturday at Amherst. The third time was not a charm for the Polar Bears, who also fell to the Panthers during the regular season and in the NESCAC Championship. Middlebury took a 2-1 lead into singles play on Saturday, with Bowdoin's lone point coming in the top doubles match as Emily Lombardi and Kellen Alberstone earned an 8-3 win over Haar/McAtee.

            After Faber/Kepping defeated Bowdoin's Nikki Kuna and Chantalle Lavertu at No. 3, the Panther duo of Aiello/Burke took care of Brett Davis and Hannah Hoerner, 8-5, to give Middlebury a 2-1 advantage. 

            Burke gave Middlebury a 3-1 cushion with a 6-2, 6-1 win over Hoerner at No. 6, but Davis brought the Polar Bears' deficit back to one with a 6-0, 6-4 victory against Faber in the No. 3 position. Kepping took care of Bowdoin's Elizabeth Pedowitz at No. 5, 6-2, 6-1, but the Bears once again cut their deficit to one when Lombardi defeated McAtee in the second match, 6-3, 6-3, to make it 4-3 in favor of Middlebury.

            With only two singles bouts remaining, Aiello sealed the deal for Middlebury with a 7-5, 7-5 win over Alberstone in the top match. When play was stopped, Haar was leading Lavertu in the second set, 5-4, after she won the first, 7-6.
• Women's tennis final record: 14-6