WILLIAMSTOWN, MA — The NCAA Division III women's tennis Regional Final between the Ephs of Williams College and the Jumbos of Tufts University was held outdoors at the Terrence M. Hunt '44 Tennis Facility on the campus of Williams College on a beautiful, sunny Sunday afternoon. The Jumbos were playing their third match in as many days, after having played a grueling five-hour match against Skidmore on Saturday, while the Ephs were much more rested, having only been on the court for an hour and a half for their lone match of the weekend before Sunday. The hosts emerged victorious by the margin of 6-0 to continue their quest for a seventh straight NCAA Division III National Championship and to extend their unbeaten streak in the NCAA tournament to 32 straight matches.
The Ephs nearly replicated their doubles performance from their second-round match against Ithaca, as they swept the Jumbos on all three doubles courts with relative ease. The Eph duo of senior Kathleen Elkins and junior Maria Pylypiv failed to drop a game at two-doubles on their way to an 8-0 rout of Jumbo freshman Jacqueline Baum and senior Shelci Bowman. Next off the court, playing at the number one position, was the Eph pairing of senior Kara Shoemaker and junior Rebecca Curran, as they dismissed the Jumbo combination of freshman Alexa Meltzer and senior Samantha Gann with an 8-1 scoreline. At three-doubles, the freshman Jumbo tandem of Conner Calabro and Chelsea Hayashi put a fight against the Eph freshmen team of Linda Shin and Hannah Atkinson after finding themselves facing a large deficit early on, but Shin and Atkinson proved to be too much for Calabro and Hayashi as they managed to eventually close out the match 8-3.
The Jumbos did their best to rally against the dominant Eph performance in singles and did a good job, but the Ephs once again proved to be too much for the Jumbos. Pylypiv carried her momentum from doubles to record a commanding 6-1, 6-1 win over Bowman at four-singles, bringing the Ephs to within a point of clinching a spot in the quarterfinals. It was a neck-and-neck race to see who would claim the match-clinching point, and the two senior co-captains for the Ephs managed to close out their matches almost simultaneously. Shoemaker overcame a slow start at one-singles to eventually down Gann in straight sets 6-2, 6-1, mere seconds before Elkins finished off Calabro 6-1, 6-1 to give the Ephs the 6-0 victory.
After the match, Eph head coach Alison Swain emphasized how her team could not take anything for granted in the NCAA tournament: "We're just so thrilled to be moving on and to be taking these girls to California because you can't take any round for granted in the NCAA Tournament. Tufts played tough at the end and made us really work for it, and that's good experience for us. We have a lot to do this week in terms of finishing classes and getting ready for the final 8, but it's a really exciting time."
Coach Swain also talked about how tournament experience will play a role in the matches to come: "Experience is something that we always hold in our back pocket because I think there are a lot of good teams out there, and we are the underdog in some of the match-ups that could happen. There are things we definitely can improve upon before we play our next match against Bowdoin on Monday, but experience will be something that help us with that because Bowdoin is a team that knows how to compete. We respect that, and we've played them twice already. They played us tougher the second time, and I expect that this time as well. They believe that they can beat us, so we have to bring our best competitive mindset to go out and win.
Williams 6, Tufts 0
- Shoemaker, Kara (WILLIAMS) def. Gann, Samantha (TUFTS) 6-2, 6-1
- Shin, Linda (WILLIAMS) v. Meltzer, Alexa (TUFTS) 3-6, 4-0 DNF
- Elkins, Kathleen (WILLIAMS) def. Calabro, Conner (TUFTS) 6-1, 6-1
- Pylypiv, Maria (WILLIAMS) def. Bowman, Shelci (TUFTS) 6-1, 6-1
- Curran, Rebecca (WILLIAMS) v. Baum, Jacqueline (TUFTS) 6-2, 3-0 DNF
- Pastor, Monica (WILLIAMS) v. Kimmel, Rebecca (TUFTS) 6-2, 4-1 DNF
- Shoemaker, Kara/Curran, Rebecca (WILLIAMS) def. Bowman, Shelci/Baum, Jacqueline (TUFTS) 8-1
- Pylypiv, Maria/Elkins, Kathleen (WILLIAMS) def. Meltzer, Alexa/Gann, Samantha (TUFTS) 8-0
- Shin, Linda/Atkinson, Hannah (WILLIAMS) def. Calabro, Conner/Hayashi, Chelsea (TUFTS) 8-3
Order of Finish: Doubles (2, 1, 3); Singles (4, 1, 3)