FREDERICKSBURG, VA – Williams College women’s tennis (23-3) won its third consecutive NCAA title and fifth overall with an impressive 5-0 win over Emory University (22-6).
On March 28th the Ephs, then ranked third nationally upset second ranked Emory at Emory 6-3 by sweeping doubles and winning the top three singles matches. While revenge may have been on the minds of the Emory Eagles today the Ephs gave Emory no time to plant the seeds of an upset.
As they did in March at Emory the Ephs opened up the match by sweeping the doubles. The Eph three doubles team of Lucy Marchese and Caroline Capute got Williams on track to the title by blanking their Emory opponents (8-0) to give the Ephs a quick 1-0 lead.
The threes set the tone for the doubles play as shortly after that match the Williams second doubles team came off the court with a win. Kristin Alotta and Nikki Reich teamed up to collect a comfortable 8-2 victory over Emory’s Tshema Nash and Sabra Rogers and to make it 2-0 Williams. Nash/Rogers had entered the match with a 20-4 record this season in doubles.
|Grace Baljon '10|
The Ephs top doubles team of Grace Baljon and Taylor French then
capped off the doubles sweep with an 8-3 victory, making the score
Williams 3 and Emory 0, heading into singles play.
“The Gustavus match was the best doubles we played this year that is, until today,” noted Swain. “The girls were inside the court, hitting volleys and they just took it to whole other level today. Inspiring.”
For the second day in a row sophomore Caroline Capute mad fast work of her match at six singles, this time downing Sara Vrabec in straight sets, 6-0, 6-0. The Capute win moved the Ephs within one point of winning their third straight NCAA title.
|Caroline Capute '12|
Capute made her debut in the Eph lineup with the first match of the spring season and she has seized the opportunity to be in the Eph lineup. “Caroline is a very, very hard worker,” noted Swain. “She is always working on her game and she is extremely coachable. Her mental game has really developed in college and you can see she just wants to be on the court all of the time. She beat a very good player today.”
Junior Nikki Reich brought home the Ephs third consecutive NCAA title with a straight set conquest at number three singles, defeating Emory’s Jordan Wylie 6-4, 6-2. As Wylie’s last shot sailed over the end line Reich let shouted with glee, “Out ! Let's go,” just before she was engulfed by her teammates and coaches.
|Nikki Reich '11|
The clincher by Reich was the second time she had closed out an NCAA championship match for the Ephs, having posted the decisive win in a 5-4 triumph over Washington & Lee with a three-set win at four singles to start the Eph tournament title streak back in 2008.
“It took a lot of determination and focus to keep the momentum in singles and close out the match,” stated Swain. “You could really see some of the Williams tennis intangibles that I talk to the girls about come into play. All of the singles were close and Emory really battled us.”
After a hard fought 5-4 win over the University of Chicago yesterday on a brutally hot day in the semifinal round there was some question as to how well the Ephs would respond by having to return to the court in less than 18 hours to play on another hot day. “It was very hot again today,” said Swain. “My shoes were melting on the court. If the match had gone longer things might have been different. These girls are smart. They know how to take care of themselves and get the rest they need.”
The 2010 championship matched paired the two most successful programs in NCAA Division III with Emory having won 5 previous titles and the Ephs winning 4, including the last two in a row. Today’s win lifted the Ephs into a tie with Emory for the most team titles by one school.
The Ephs met Emory in one other NCAA final prior to today and that was in 2002 in Sweet Briar, Virginia and the Ephs came out on top 6-3.
|Lucy Marchese '11|
Emory has appeared in 26 consecutive NCAA Tournaments and they have compiled an overall record of 42-22 (.667), which includes five titles, two second place finishes, three third place finishes and one fourth place finish.
Williams has rung up an NCAA Tournament record of 48-13 (.787) in 17 tries, which includes 5 titles, two seconds, two thirds and one fourth place finish.
Eph seniors Grace Baljon and Ashley Parsons closed out their Williams careers with an overall record of 84-14 (.857) an NCAA Tournament record of 18-2 (.900), which featured 3 NCAA titles and a 15–match win streak.
Eph head coach Alison Swain has now been a part of four of the five Eph NCAA title teams, winning the first Eph title in 2001 as a senior captain and guiding her first three Williams teams to the NCAA crown. Swain has a personal streak of 20 consecutive wins in the NCAA Tournament as a player (5) and coach (15). Swain’s NCAA Tournament coaching record currently is a glittering 15-0.
The Ephs doubles team of Grace Baljon/Taylor French will remain in Fredericksburg to compete in the NCAA Doubles Championship, while Baljon and Kristin Alotta will compete in the Singles Championship. Singles and doubles play will begin tomorrow morning.
Williams 5, Emory 0
1. Grace Baljon/Taylor French (W) def. Zahra Dawson/Lorne McManigle (EU) – 8-3 
2. Kristin Alotta/Nikki Reich (W) def. Tshema Nash/Sabra Rogers (EU) – 8-2 
3. Lucy Marchese/Caroline Capute (W) def. Lindsay Reidenbach/Jordan Wylie (EU) – 8-0 
1. Zahra Dawson (EU) vs. Grace Baljon (W) – 7-5, 1-2 DNF
2. Kristin Alotta (W) vs. Lorne McManigle (EU) – 7-6(7-4), 2-1 DNF
3. Nikki Reich (W) def. Jordan Wylie (EU) – 6-4, 6-2 
4. Lucy Marchese (W) vs. Tshema Nash (EU) – 6-1, 6-6(0-2) DNF
5. Nancy Worley (W) vs. Lindsay Reidenbach (EU) – 6-4, 3-0 DNF
6. Caroline Capute (W) def. Sara Vrabec (EU) – 6-0, 6-0 
Nancy Worley to the Rescue Again; Ephs 5, Chicago 4
FREDERICKSBURG, VA (05/26/10) – Today’s NCAA semifinal match between Williams College (22-3) and the University of Chicago (23-4) featured two teams with 13-match win streaks. Thanks to a pressure filled win by Eph first year Nancy Worley at five singles, in the only three-set match of the day, Williams downed Chicago 5-4.
The win extended the Eph NCAA Tournament win streak to 14 and
snapped Chicago’s skein of wins at 13. Williams advances to
its third consecutive championship match and will play the Emory
University Eagles tomorrow afternoon at 1:00 PM. This marks the
first time in their 17-year NCAA Tournament history that the Ephs
have played in three straight finals.
The Ephs and Emory played on March 28th at Emory and Williams prevailed by a score of 6-3 by sweeping doubles play.
“These girls continue to inspire me with how they just never did not believe they would win even when they were down,” said Eph head coach Alison Swain. “The mental toughness of this team is impressive. Caroline Capute was right on the verge of having to stop playing due to the heat, but she put ice bags all over her body at every break and toughed out a win. She didn’t even see Nancy’s match as we made her go inside out of the heat.”
|Nancy Worley '13|
“We played well in doubles and Caroline and Lucy at three battled the whole way,” noted Swain. “We were a little disappointed not to have the lead after doubles, but we really re-established momentum by going up a set in almost every singles match.”
Chicago’s top doubles team of Kendra Higgins and Chrissy Hu, the defending NCAA doubles champions, had won 14 straight matches before losing yesterday vs. Pomona, but today Higgins/Hu got Chicago off to a good start as they defeated Grace Baljon/Taylor French 8-3 to record the first result of the match.
The Ephs knotted the score at one all when Kristin Alotta/Nikki Reich topped Jennifer Kung/Linden Li 8-4 at number two.
Three doubles was an all out battle between the Ephs Caroline Capute/Lucy Marchese and the Maroons’ Aswini Krishnan/Carmen Vaca Guzman. With the match tied at 6 Capute/Marchese went up 7-6, only to have Krishnan/Vaca Guzman win the next two games to go up 8-7. Capute/Marchese would not buckle though winning the next game to even the match at 8 and force a tiebreaker.
Krishnan/Vaca Guzman got off to a 3-2 lead in the tiebreaker closed out the match by prevailing in the tiebreaker by a 7-4 margin. With the win Krishnan/Vaca Guzman won their 10th consecutive doubles match and gave the Maroons a 2-1 advantage heading into singles play.
Straight set wins by Caroline Capute at six and Kristin Alotta at two boosted the Ephs into a 3-2 and that lead soon grew to 4-2 when junior Nikki Reich posted a straight set win at number 3. Chicago narrowed the Eph lead to 4-3 when Kendra Higgins topped the Ephs Grace Baljon at number one in straight sets.
The Maroons’ Linden Li then defeated the Ephs Lucy Marchese at number four by taking the second set in a tiebreaker (7-6), setting the stage for the result at five singles to determine the outcome of the match and determine which team would advance to the finals.
The Ephs Nancy Worley opened her five singles match with a 6-2 win over Chrissy Hu, but then lost the second set 6-4 to put the fate of both teams on the third and final set. Five singles was the only match to go three sets.
Worley had rescued the Ephs back in the Sweet 16 match when she battled back from down one set to provide the winning point over NESCAC foe Tufts, 5-4, and keep the Ephs in the title hunt.
|Taylor French '12|
The feisty Eph first year showed no signs of feeling the added pressure of needing to deliver a win to ensure that the Ephs would advance as she crisply rattled off a six straight wins to claim the third set 6-0.
“Yes, I did think about the Tufts match and that third set today and I think that experience helped me, but what really helped me was my teammates,” Worley said. “I was just trying to win the first set and then be consistent from there, but they were all cheering so loud it carried me.”
“Key in Nancy’s third set was that she did not lose a first point of a game until the fifth game and she won that game 40-15,” noted Swain.
“We truly are a team in every way,” stated Worley. “We play for each other and no one is out there playing for herself. We’re also a family too and that goes back over the years as we’re always getting notes and words of encouragement from players who played here before us.”
Worley was not even in the Eph lineup back on March 26th when the Ephs edged Chicago 5-4.
In the March match versus the Maroons the Ephs doubles lineup had Nikki Reich/Kristin Alotta at one; Grace Baljon/Taylor French at two, and Caroline Capute/Lucy Marchese at three. Today the Ephs had Blajon/French at one; Reich/Alotta at two, while Capute/Marchese remained at three.
Today’s match marked the first time Williams and Chicago have met in the NCAA Tournament, but back on March 26 the Ephs edged the Maroons 5-4 in a match played at Mary Washington University as part of the Fab Five Tournament. In that match the Maroons won two of three doubles points, but the Ephs bounced back to win four singles encounters with senior captain Ashley Parsons’ straight set win at 6 the decider.
Williams now sports an NCAA Tournament record of 47-13, while Chicago is currently 6-4 in the tourney.
Tomorrow’s NCAA championship match will feature the two winningest teams in Division III as Emory has won five titles and the Ephs have won four, including the last two in a row. Chicago will clsoe out its season tomorrow when they play Anherst at 9:00 AM in the third place match.
|Ephs mob Nancy Worley after deciding match|
Williams 5, Chicago 4
[ ] = Order of Finish
DNS = Did No Start
DNF = Did Not Finish
1. Kendra Higgins/Chrissy Hu (UC) def. Grace Baljon/Taylor French (W) – 8-3 
2. Kristin Alotta/Nikki Reich (W) def. Jennifer Kung/Linden Li (UC) – 8-4 
3. Carmen Vaca Guzman/Aswini Krishnan (UC) def. Caroline Capute/Lucy Marchese (W) – 9-8(7-4) 
1. Kendra Higgins (UC) def. Grace Baljon (W) – 6-4, 6-3 
2. Kristin Alotta (W) def. Jennifer Kung (UC) – 6-1, 6-1 
3. Nikki Reich (W) def. Carmen Vaca Guzman (UC) – 6-4, 6-2 (6)
4. Linden Li (UC) def. Lucy Marchese (W) – 6-3, 7-6(7-5) 
5. Nancy Worley (W) def. Chrissy Hu (UC) – 6-2, 4-6, 6-0 
6. Caroline Capute (W) def. Tiffany Nguyen (UC) – 6-1, 6-0 
Ephs blank Gustavus Adolphus 5-0 to advance to Semifinals
FREDERICKSBURG, VA – One winning streak had to end and one had to continue when Williams College and Gustavus Adolphus College met in the NCAA Women’s Tennis Quarterfinals this afternoon on the campus of Mary Washington University.
A 16-match Gustavus Adolphus win streak was halted, while the Williams NCAA Tournament win streak was extended to 13 as Williams downed Gustavus Adolphus 5-0, advancing the Ephs to the semifinals tomorrow afternoon at 2:00 PM vs. the University of Chicago. Chicago defeated Pomona 5-1.
Back on March 26 the Ephs edged Chicago 5-4, despite trailing 2-1 after doubles in a match played at Mary Washington University.
The Williams women’s tennis team improved to 21-3 on the year, while Gustavus dropped to 33-11 with the loss. The win by the Ephs marked the 11th consecutive year that Gustavus had lost in the quarterfinal round, a streak that the Ephs began in 1999.
|Nikki Reich '11|
Overall the Ephs are now 46-13 in 17 NCAA Tournament appearances and Gustavus is 34-24 in 22 appearances
During their 16-match win streak Gustavus had come out of doubles play holding the lead in the last 15 matches, but that streak ended this afternoon as well as Williams swept the doubles. The Ephs sent a strong message right from the start of the match with their aggressive tandem tactics. “We played really aggressive and smart and we took advantage of every available opportunity,” said Eph head coach Alison Swain. “This was by far our best doubles play of the year and it gave us great momentum heading into singles.”
Playing at #2 Kristin Alotta/Nikki Reich won first downing the Gusties’ Megan Gaard/Marianne Barau 8-2 and then the Ephs first and third doubles teams each won by the score of 8-5 to produce a commanding lead of 3-0.
Straight set wins a #2 singles by Kristin Alotta and Nikki Reich at #3 secured the win for Williams.
“I was very impressed with how everyone was able to take control of the match across the board,” commented senior Ashley Parsons. “No one let up, not even for one point.”
|Caroline Capute '12|
Williams and Gustavus had met three times previously in the NCAA Tournament with the Ephs holding a 2-1 advantage. All three prior matches ended with a score of 5-4; Williams won in 1994 and 1999 and Gustavus took the 1995 contest.
In today’s morning matches Amherst advanced to the semifinal round with a 5-0 win over Carnegie Mellon and Emory downed Denison 5-2. Amherst and Emory will meet tomorrow at 9:00 AM to determine which team will advance to play the winner of tomorrow’s 2:00 PM semifinal for the 2010 NCAA title at 1:00 PM on Thursday. The loser of that match will play the loser of the second semifinal match to determine third place on Thursday morning.
Williams 5, Gustavus Adolphus 0
[ ] = Order of Finish
DNS = Did No Start
DNF = Did not Finish
1. Grace Baljon/Taylor French (W) vs. Sierra Krebsbach/Sam Frank
(GAC) – 8-5 
2. Kristin Alotta/Nikki Reich (W) def. Megan Gaard/Marianne Barau (GAC) – 8-2 
3. Lucy Marchese/Caroline Capute (W) def. Ali O'Neal/Maria Bryan (GAC) – 8-5 
1. Grace Baljon (W) vs. Sierra Krebsbach (GAC) – 5-7, 1-2 DNF
2. Kristin Alotta (W) def. Sam Frank (GAC) -- 6-0, 6-2 
3. Nikki Reich (W) vs. Marianne Barau (GAC) – 6-1, 7-6(7-0) 
4. Lucy Marchese (W) vs. Megan Gaard (GAC) – 6-7(7-6), 3-2 DNF
5. Nancy Worley (W) vs. Ali O'Neal (GAC) – 6-2, 5-4 DNF
6. Caroline Capute (W) vs. Alex Erickson (GAC) – 6-2, 4-2 DNF
Ephs open NCAA team play with a match vs. Gustavus Adolphus Tuesday
FREDERICKSBURG, VA (05/24/10)-- Alison Swain’s Williams College women’s tennis team (20-3) will square off against Gustavus Adolphus College (33-10) in the NCAA Division III Quarterfinals at 2:00 PM May 25 in Fredericksburg, VA on the campus of Mary Washington University.
Two impressive winning streaks will collide Tuesday afternoon in Fredricksburg, VA when Williams plays Gustavus Adolphus. Gustavus has won 16 consecutive matches and the Ephs have won their last 12 NCAA Tournament matches.
This will be the fourth time that Williams and Gustavus have met in the NCAA Tournament with the Ephs holding a 2-1 advantage. All three previous matches ended with a score of 5-4; Williams won in 1994 and 1999 and Gustavus took the 1995 contest.
Gustavus is playing in its 22nd NCAA tournament and Williams is making its 17th straight appearance. Overall Gustavus owns a record of 34-23 and the Ephs are 45-13, having won the last two championships. Williams has won its last 12 NCAA Tournament matches.
The Ephs have played and defeated five of the seven teams in the quarterfinals, but have not played Gustavus or Denison yet. “Our spring schedule has prepared us very well for this moment,” said Swain. “Defeating 5 of the other 7 teams left in the Elite 8 this spring is an achievement to be proud of in itself. Yet, we didn't play these teams back in March and April to have strong wins going into post-season. We played them to gain experience and push ourselves to get better.
“Part of my job as coach in the final stages of our season is to help my players realize how tough they are under pressure and that they have prepared themselves every day this year to compete on the NCAA stage,” continued Swain. “Another integral part of my job is to make sure they realize that playing in the NCAA Elite 8 is an amazing opportunity and worthy of celebration.
This year’s NCAA Tournament will be a slightly different experience for the Ephs as they will play the tournament at the site they competed in the Fab Five Tournament earlier in the spring and they will be competing without having to take final exams or finish papers at the tournament site.
|Kristin Alotta '12|
“Being finished with finals before our first match this year is definitely a luxury,” stated Swain. “Usually the players are up working on papers or rushing to get back to the hotel after a practice or match to take an exam. Sunday night the girls were in their rooms after a relaxing dinner, watching movies and getting rest. On the other hand, we've never played a match without an academic work load on everyone's plate, so it will be different than what the team is used to.”
“Gustavus is consistently one of the strongest teams in DIII, noted Swain. “More often than not, Gustavus is in the Elite 8 so they bring a lot of tournament experience and will certainly rise to the occasion.”
Williams advanced to the NCAA Quarterfinals with a 5-o win over Wheaton and a 5-4 cliffhanger over NESCAC foe Tufts. Gustavus blanked Luther and Wisconsin-Whitewater in their two previous NCAA Tournament matches and in their last 15 matches, all wins, the Gusties have come out of the doubles play with at least a 1-point advantage. It will be important for the Ephs to be ready from the get-go on Tuesday.
|Lucy Marchese '11
“Gustavus will come out with a lot of energy and aggressiveness at net in doubles,” Swain commented. “It is important for us to be prepared and have confidence in our ability to close at the net and finish points inside the court.
However, because we don't see a lot of teams that are as aggressive as Gustavus’ doubles, we may have to make some adjustments in order to be able to impose our game. A pro-set can go very quickly, so it is important for our doubles teams to play smart, focused doubles from the first point.”
The winner of Tuesday’s match will move on to face the winner of the day’s other 2:00 PM match – Chicago (22-3) vs. Pomona (16-3) – at 2:00 PM on Wednesday.
The other side of the bracket finds Amherst (19-2) taking on Carnegie Mellon (15-7) and Denison (18-4) vs. Emory (20-5) in 9:00 AM matches. The winners of Tuesday’s matches will meet at 9:00 AM on Wednesday.
The NCAA Championship match will be played on Thursday at 1:00 PM.