May 14, 2012

The Middlebury College women's tennis team saw Bowdoin come back from a 4-1 deficit to defeat the Panthers 5-4 to win an NCAA Women’s Tennis Regional in Middlebury, Vermont. The Polar Bears (13-8) will take on Emory in the national quarterfinals on Monday, May 21st in Cary, N.C. The Panthers finish their season with a record of 15-4.

Doubles play was tight throughout, with Middlebury emerging with a 2-1 lead. Juniors Brittney Faber (Minnetonka, Minn.) and Leah Kepping (Northport, N.Y.) trailed 3-0, before battling back with an 8-5 win over Kellen Alberstone and Emma Lewis.

Bowdoin evened the match at #3 singles, with an 8-6 win in a back and forth contest. Bowdoin’s Kate Winingham and Emily Lombardi led senior Victoria Aiello (Milton, Mass.) and rookie Katie Paradies (Atlanta, Ga.) 3-0 and then found themselves trailing 5-4. The duo battled back and came away with the 8-6 victory.

The final doubles contest saw Middlebury leading most of the way, including 8-7 late. Bowdoin’s Emma Chow and Chantalle Lavertu came back to tie the match at 8-8 forcing a tie-breaker. Senior Anna Burke (Summit, N.J.) and first-year player Lok Sze Leung (Hong Kong) emerged with a 7-5 victory tie-breaker.

Leung made it a 3-1 lead at #1 singles, topping Alberstone 6-2, 6-2. The Panthers took a 4-1 advantage when K. Paradies defeated Howard 6-3, 6-4 in the #6 spot.

Bowdoin jumped back into the match at #2 singles when Winingham topped Aiello, 6-2, 7-5. The Polar Bears kept coming, making it a 4-3 match when Lavertu outlasted Kepping 3-6, 6-1, 7-5 at #3. Just #4 and #5 singles remained, as they both headed into the third sets.

Bowdoin jumped out to early leads in both sets, sealing the match simultaneously with a pair of victories. Lombardi was a 3-6, 6-4, 6-1 winner over Burke at #5, while Lewis topped Faber 5-7, 7-6 (2), 6-2 in the #4 spot.

Middlebury advanced to the NCAA Regional finals by quickly dispatching Ithaca, 5-0 on Saturday.

Middlebury took a commanding 3-0 lead after doubles play, not giving up a single game with three 8-0 victories.

In singles play, Faber emerged quickly with a 6-0, 6-0 win at #3, topping Becky Guzzo. The match ended shortly thereafter when Burke was a 6-0, 6-1 winner over Allison Vizgaitis in the #5 slot.

Middlebury’s Leung, Aiello, Kepping and K. Paradies had each taken the first set and were leading in the second when the match was halted.

• Women’s tennis final record: 15-4