April 2, 2012

The Middlebury College women’s tennis team improved to 6-0 on the season with three victories in California over spring break. The ninth-ranked Panthers opened with an 8-1 win over Vanguard, before topping eight-ranked Claremont, 5-3. Middlebury came back the next day to earn a 5-4 win over Azusa Pacific.

Sixth-ranked juniors Brittney Faber (Minnetonka, Minn.) and junior Leah Kepping (Northport, N.Y.) edged out a 9-7 victory at #1 singles to give the Panthers a 3-0 lead. The Panthers took five of six singles matches in straight sets to emerge with the victory.

Leading 2-1 after doubles play, the battle began in singles play against Claremont. Rookie Lok Sze Leung (Hong Kong) earned a lengthy 2-6, 6-0, 6-2 win at #1, while senior Victoria Aiello (Milton, Mass.) was a 6-4, 6-1 winner in the #2 slot. Kepping was the third singles winner by a score of 6-1, 6-2 at #3 singles.

Trailing 4-1, Middlebury battled back to pick up the 5-4 win over NAIA’s fifth ranked Azusa Pacific to break the Cougars’ 10-match winning streak.

With the match knotted at 4-4 Danae Ingwaldson battled sophomore Dorrie Paradies (Atlanta, Ga.) at No. 5 with each player taking a 7-6 win after two sets. Then in the deciding third Ingwaldson was down 2-1, and had her serve broken to make it 4-1 in favor of Paradies. After breaking Paradies to make it 5-2, Ingwaldson held serve despite trailing love-15, scoring four straight to make it a 5-3 affair. In the final game she got the first point to keep the rally going before Paradies sealed it with a 6-3 win.

Just prior to that Cougar loss Nakieta Hein and Faber traded 7-6 wins before Hein was forced to bow out despite leading the third set 1-0 after she began cramping. At No. 6 singles Kim Koetterheinrich fell to rookie Katie Paradies (Atlanta, Ga.) 6-7, 7-6 (7-3) after Natalie McNall suffered a 6-3, 6-2 loss to Leung in the first position to open a four-match streak for the Panthers.

Leah Hoffee’s earned her 13th straight singles win, sweeping Aiello 6-0, 6-0 at No. 2 to remain unbeaten on the season. Emily Harris also kept her hot streak going, defeating Kepping 6-1, 6-3 at No. 3 singles to notch her eighth straight victory.

In doubles the Cougars nearly notched a sweep when Molly Ruby and McNall fought back from a 7-2 hole, breaking a pair of Panther serves to make it a 7-6 match. Middlebury held off the duo to tab its first win of the day as senior Anna Burke (Summit, N.J.) and Leung posted an 8-6 victory.

At No. 1 doubles Harris and Ingwaldson notched an 8-4 defeat of Kepping and Faber, while Hoffee and Koetterheinrich made quick work of Aiello and junior DeeDee Myers (Winnetka, Ill.) at No. 3 with an 8-1 win to start the day for the Cougars.

Middlebury improved to 8-0 on the season with two more wins on the west coast. The #7 Panthers wrapped up their spring break with a 9-0 win over #15 Pomona, before sweeping #30 Linfield, 9-0.

Middlebury took all three doubles matches vs. Pomona, with six straight-set wins in singles play. Faber at #4 and D. Paradies at #5 both picked up two-set victories with a tie-breaker win.

Against Linfield, the undefeated Panthers (8-0) swept through doubles play with ease before taking all six singles flights from the Wildcats in two sets each.

At No. 1 singles, Leung, the top-ranked player in the Northeast region, blanked Abby Olbrich 6-0, 6-0. In two of the most closely contested matches at two and three singles, respectively, Aiello defeated Caroline Brigham 6-2, 6-2 and Kepping turned away Kaila Nip 6-3, 6-2.

D. Paradies earned a 6-1, 6-0 decision over Lexi Thomas while K. Paradies took care of Kiana Nip by a score of 6-0, 6-1. In the sixth and final flight, Myers defeated Kelly Watanabe 6-1, 6-0.
• Women’s tennis record: 8-0
• Up next: 4/6 @ Conn. College