CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. - After advancing to Day 2 of the NCAA Doubles Individual Championship, senior and co-captain Hannah Atkinson and her partner, Chloe Henderson, were unable to advance past the quarterfinals and to Day 3, marking the official end to an incredible 2016/2017 season for the Ephs, who won a record 10th NCAA Team Championship and who garnered an impressive four All-America honors.
On Thursday afternoon, the senior and freshman took on another team that they had faced earlier in the season, this time being the second-seeded pairing of Nicole Tan and Lindsay Brown from Claremont-Mudd-Scripps. The Athenas had bettered the Ephs in the regular season back in March, when the two teams faced off, playing the Ephs off the court, 8-2, on that occasion. However, the quarterfinal round of doubles was a different story, and the Ephs put up a much stronger fight, while still falling short.
Atkinson and Henderson came out of the gates quite well, grabbing an early break of serve to go up 2-1, but that appeared to be the wakeup-call that Tan and Brown required, as they proceeded to take the next three games to gain control of the first set, which they would ultimatly take 6-3.
Struggling to find their form, Atkinson and Henderson continued to struggle in the early goings of the second set, and quickly found themselves trailing 5-2. The Eph doubles team then clicked into life, however, and engineered a comeback to level the score at 5-5, before splitting the next two games to force a tiebreaker for the second set.
Like in the second set, the two Ephs trailed early in the tiebreaker, and faced two match points when they were down 6-4. The two fended off one match point, and then played an outstanding point at 6-5 off Atkinson's serve to force an error from one of the Athenas at the net.
Nevertheless, the two All-American Ephs could not produce the finishing touches to close out the second set tiebreaker, as Tan and Brown collected themselves to put together the subsequent two points and close out the match 8-6 in the tiebreaker.