SOUTH HADLEY, MA. – Top-seeded Williams women’s tennis (18-2, 8-0 NESCAC) advanced to the NESCAC tournament finals with a 5-1 defeat of fourth-seeded Middlebury College (13-5, 4-3). Due to inclement weather, the match was moved from Amherst College to an indoor facility at Mount Holyoke College.
“It was very fun to avenge our two doubles losses from two weeks ago,” said Williams head coach Alison Swain. “We had really awesome energy heading into our match. We are so excited to begin post season play, and Middlebury played really strong singles and I was proud of how we responded."
Williams defeated Middlebury in their regular season conference match up, 7-2, on April 21. The Panthers managed to take two of three doubles from the Ephs before Williams took over by sweeping singles play. Today, the Ephs were able to grab the 2-1 advantage early on.
Lucy Marchese and Caroline Capute took their match first, winning by a dominant 8-1 score. Their opponents, Brittney Faber and Leah Kepping, had defeated the Ephs pair by the same score on April 21, but Marchese and Capute proved to be too good this morning. Kristin Alotta and Nikki Reich faltered at court two next, but Grace Baljon and Taylor French closed out the doubles play on a positive note with an 8-2 win at court one.
Reich, Baljon, and Capute tallied the next three points in singles play. Reich won 6-3, 6-4 at court three against Faber, while Baljon took a first set tiebreak and a 6-2 second set to tally the fourth points for the Ephs. Capute clinched the decisive fifth point to send her squad into the NESCAC finals with a 6-2, 6-4 win at court six.
The Ephs will take on second-seeded Amherst tomorrow at 9:00 a.m. The Lord Jeffs also received a first-round bye, and advanced to tomorrow's final match with a 5-0 win over third-seeded Tufts.
Williams has not won an outright NESCAC title since 2003, and has been defeated by Amherst in the final match of the tournament for the past five years. The two squads have split their matches this year with Amherst taking the fall match up, and Williams winning the spring match. The Lord Jeffs won, 6-3, on October 3 while the Ephs took a 6-3 win on April 18.
Williams 5, Middlebury 1
1) Grace Baljon/Taylor French (W) def. Jamie Haar/Alexandra McAtee (M) --- 8-2 (3rd)
2) Victoria Aiello/Anna Burke (M) def. Kristin Alotta/Nicole Reich (W) --- 8-5 (2nd)
3) Lucy Marchese/Caroline Capute (W) def. Brittney Faber/Leah Kepping (M) --- 8-1 (1st)
1) Grace Baljon (W) def. Victoria Aiello (M) 7-6(4), 6-2
2) Alexandra McAtee (M) leads Kristin Alotta (W) 7-5, 6-5 (DNF)
3) Nicole Reich (W) def. Brittney Faber (M) 6-3, 6-4
4) Lucy Marchese (W) leads Jamie Haar (M) 6-4, 5-5 (DNF)
5) Leah Kepping (M) leads Nancy Worley (W) [1-6], 6-2, 2-0 (DNF)
6) Caroline Capute (W) def. Anna Burke (M) 6-2, 6-4