Raventos, Shin win NCAA doubles championship

Raventos, Shin win NCAA doubles championship

W A T C H  NCAA.com Video Recap of Singles & Doubles Championships

MASON, OH. -- Linda Shin didn't consider herself a doubles player when she arrived at Williams College.

She's one-half of the best doubles team in the country now.

Shin, a sophomore, joined with Juli Raventos, a first year, Saturday to capture the NCAA Div. III Tournament doubles championship by virtue of a 7-5, 6-7(4-7), 6-3 three-set thriller over Katie Kousman and Caroline Ward of Claremont Mudd Scripps.

The pair recorded Williams first NCAA doubles championship since former coach Julie Greenwood and Porter Harris did so in 1996. Shin and Raventos were the Ephs No. 2 doubles team in 2014-15 and were an aternate entry into the NCAA Tournament. 

"It's amazing, just amazing," Ephs' head coach Alison Swain said. "We're all in shock right now. They just have the ultimate balance of talent, tenacity and joy out there in doubles. Juli has amazing hands at the net and Linda can get anything in the back -- they are both so fast.  Plus they both took their service games up a notch."

After nearly winning the national title in straight sets, Shin and Raventos instead were forced to regroup after a heartbreaking second-set loss in a tiebreak, 7-6 (7-4), after being up 4-2 at one point and then rallying from a 5-4 deficit.

They came out on fire in the third set, winning the first three games with relative ease before Kousman and Ward fought back with a win. Up 4-1, the CMS tandem won two straight games and were up 40-15 on serve.

But Raventos and Shin once again rallied and the two pairs fought through seven deuces before the Ephs' pair emerged victorious with a key win to take a 5-3 lead. Up 40-15, Shin had enough left in her tank to drill a great first serve that could not be returned and crowned the Williams pair national champions.

Earlier in the day, the Eph duo had dispatched Patricia Kirkland and Meighan Sonja in the semifinals in yet another three-set thriller, 6-4, 3-6, 6-1. In the third set, the Ephs converted on every single match point they had without error.

"That was the key," Swain said. "They didn't let (Kirkland and Sonja) build any momentum. They (Raventos and Shin) are just so mentally tough."

It was the third NCAA doubles title in Williams history, as Greenwood and Becky Mallory won the first-ever in 1994.

Williams 5, Skidmore 0
May 10, 2015 Williams 5, Skidmore 0