CLAREMONT, CA — Following up their third-place finish at the NCAA Division III Women's Tennis Team tournament, three Ephs took part in the individual tournaments on Thursday: senior co-captains Kara Shoemaker and Kathleen Elkins both participated in the singles tournament, while Shoemaker and junior Rebecca Curran competed in the doubles tournament.
Kara Shoemaker, seeded 4th overall in the tournament, took on Sarah Wood of Kalamazoo College in the opening round in the morning, managing a comfortable 6-1, 6-1 win to progress to the Round of 16.
In the Round of 16, Shoemaker faced off against Angela Pratt of Carnegie Mellon University, who had just edged her opponent in a long three-set match in the morning, leaving Shoemaker to sweep aside what was left with a resounding 6-2, 6-1 scoreline. Shoemaker is now set to go up against Gabby Devlin of Amherst College in the quarterfinals Friday morning at 9:00 AM PDT.
Kathleen Elkins made her first appearance in the NCAA individual tournament on Thursday, as an unseeded player, and she was in search of her 100th career singles win, which she was able to earn in convincing fashion. She had already taken on and defeated her opponent, Jessica Ly of Redlands College, earlier in the regular season, and she did not give Ly any opportunity to get even, dropping only one game on her way to the century mark in singles wins, dismissing Ly 6-1, 6-0.
Elkins is only the third Eph to ever reach the 100-win milestone, with the last Eph to do so being Kristin Alotta '12, the other being Kate Troy '07. Elkins is, however, the first Eph to reach the 100-win mark and study abroad.
Eph head coach Alison Swain commented on Kathleen Elkins' 100th singles win: "It's a really exciting accomplishment, and it shows the extent of her contribution to the program as a whole throughout her time here at Williams."
Elkins was pitted against Amanda Austi of Johns Hopkins University in the Round of 16, and the Ephs' result against Johns Hopkins from the third-place match was reaffirmed by the dominant performance Elkins put in, dropping only two games on her way to a 6-2, 6-0 win, booking her own spot in Friday morning's quarterfinals, where she will play second-seeded Sonja Meighan of Washington & Lee University at 9 AM PDT.
With their singles wins, Shoemaker and Elkins automatically become All-Americans in singles. The last time the Ephs had two All-Americans in singles was 2010.
After a long day of singles, doubles play commenced in the evening, and Shoemaker and Curran faced off against Bronte Goodhue and Lindsey Liles of Sewanee, who both had played two singles matches earlier in the day but each had crashed out in the Round of 16. In spite of what was now the fourth day of tennis, Shoemaker and Curran summoned up all the energy they had left for what was a thrilling three-set encounter. At first it seemed that Shoemaker and Curran would cruise to an easy victory over Goodhue and Liles after a 6-1 first set, but then Goodhue and Liles found their form as they came to life in the second set, returning the same scoreline as the first set in the second but this time in their favor. It all came down to a decisive third set that looked like it would go the distance, until Shoemaker and Curran grabbed a late break to see out the match 7-5 in the third.
Shoemaker and Curran also advance to the quarterfinal round, where they will play the third-seeded team of Katie Kuosman and Caroline Ward of Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Friday afternoon.
Coach Swain remarked on what was a great day of individual performances with both singles players and the doubles team advancing to the quarterfinals: "It really comes down to personal motivation in the individual tournament, and everything we do here is just icing on the cake, which makes it all the more impressive that they are able to do well."