Middlebury

Women's Tennis Falls At Amherst In NESCAC Semifinals

May 4, 2013

Caroline Richman pulled out the decisive three-set win at fourth singles to end a thrilling semifinal and lift top-ranked Amherst past sixth-ranked Middlebury and into the NESCAC title match, 5-4, on Saturday. With the win, top-seeded Amherst improved to 17-1 overall as the Jeffs took first and third doubles then held off a strong challenge from the fourth-seeded Panthers (10-6) thanks to singles wins by Gabby Devlin, Zoe Pangalos, and finally Richman.

After Pangalos won at No. 6 to tie the match, 4-4, all eyes turned to the battle between Richman and Middlebury’s Margot Marchese. With both players battling fatigue, the Jeff senior held serve down the stretch, using a strong backhand to force Marchese into an error on match point as she finished off the 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 triumph in front of an excited crowd of spectators.

For Amherst and Middlebury, the top two doubles contests quickly went opposite ways as Jeff No. 1s Jordan Brewer and Devlin powered past Middlebury’s Leah Kepping and Brittany Faber, 8-2, but the Panthers evened it moments later when Lok-Sze Leung and Ria Gerger took twos from Jen Newman and Pangalos, 8-3.

As attention turned to third doubles, Richman elevated her play for the first time on the day alongside Safi Aly ’15, as the pair overcame an early deficit to notch an 8-6 win over Dorrie Paradies and Katie Paradies and give the hosts a 2-1 advantage heading into singles play.

Devlin put Amherst up 3-1 as she made quick work of Dorrie Paradies at fifth singles, 6-1, 6-2, but Middlebury drew back within one as Gerger outlasted Newman in a tense second-set tiebreaker for the 6-3, 7-6 (7-4) win at No. 2.

With each of the remaining four matches reaching a third set, Middlebury seized momentum with wins at threes and ones coming in rapid succession. After Sue Ghosh had battled back from a first-set loss at third singles, Kepping was too strong in the finale, stopping the Jeff rookie for a 6-4, 3-6, 6-1 win. Moments later, Leung cut Brewer’s strong comeback short in the top spot, pulling away in the third to win 6-3, 4-6, 6-1, and put the Panthers on top, 4-3.

Pangalos soon gave Amherst a big boost at No. 6, however, as she completed her rally from a first-set loss to down Faber 2-6, 6-4, 6-3, setting the stage for Richman’s dramatic triumph at fourth singles.

Middlebury is expected to receive an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament when the pairings are announced on Monday.

Singles 

1. Lok-Sze Leung (MIDD) def. Jordan Brewer (AMH) 6-3, 4-6, 6-1
2. Ria Gerger (MIDD) def. Jen Newman (AMH) 6-3, 7-6 (7-4)
3. Leah Kepping (MIDD) def. Sue Ghosh (AMH) 6-4, 3-6, 6-1
4. Caroline Richman (AMH) def. Margot Marchese (MIDD) 6-3, 4-6, 6-3
5. Gabby Devlin (AMH) def. Dorrie Paradies (MIDD) 6-1, 6-2
6. Zoe Pangalos (AMH) def. Brittany Faber (MIDD) 2-6, 6-4, 6-3

Doubles 

1. Jordan Brewer/Gabby Devlin (AMH) def. Leah Kepping/Brittany Faber (MIDD) 8-2
2. Lok-Sze Leung/Ria Gerger (MIDD) def. Jen Newman/Zoe Pangalos (AMH) 8-3
3. Caroline Richman/Safi Aly (AMH) def. Dorrie Paradies/Katie Paradies (MIDD) 8-6