Three Ephs advance to ITA semifinals

Co-captain Kathleen Elkins ’14, seeded sixth in singles, made it to the semifinals last weekend. - Alex Marshall/Photo Editor
Co-captain Kathleen Elkins ’14, seeded sixth in singles, made it to the semifinals last weekend. – Alex Marshall/Photo Editor

Women’s tennis demonstrated its energy and poise as it hosted the ITA New England Regional Championships last Friday through Sunday. Seventeen New England Div. III schools took part in the tournament.

The Ephs finished Friday with the most players of any team moving on to the Round of 16 in the tournament. Co-captain Kathleen Elkins ’14 had an impressive first day of play when she beat her first opponent from Middlebury 6-0, 6-1 and her second opponent from Tufts 6-1, 6-1. Co-captain Kara Shoemaker ’14 had an incredible first match, beating Anitra Kloczewiak of UMass-Boston 6-0, 6-0. Shoemaker finished the day with a place secured in the Round of 16 after winning her second match 6-0, 6-3. Hannah Atkinson ’17 fought her way into the Round of 16 as well, defeating her first opponent 6-4, 6-2 and pounding out a win in her second match 6-1, 7-5. Her classmate Linda Shin ’17 crushed her two opponents, winning 6-2, 6-0 in the opening round and 6-1, 6-0 in the second.

In doubles, second-seeded Shoemaker and her partner, Rebecca Curran ’15, blazed through to the quarterfinals, only dropping one game of 17. They beat their first opponents 8-1 and dominated their second match 8-0. The fourth-seeded pair of Elkins and Maria Pylypiv ’15 beat a Mount Holyoke team 8-1 in the first round and a duo from Wheaton 8-3 after that. Shin and partner Alex Stone ’16 recorded victories over fellow NESCAC teams, defeating their Amherst opponents 8-6 in the first round and beating a team from Trinity 8-3 in the Round of 16.

The women returned to the courts on Saturday for the second day of the tournament. One of the most exciting matches of the day was a grueling quarterfinal contest between two Ephs, Elkins and Shin, which lasted for more than three hours. In the end, despite a strong effort from Shin, Elkins came away with a 6-4, 3-6, 6-1 win. Shoemaker continued her impressive streak in singles, beating ninth seed Sam Gann of Tufts 6-1, 6-1 and fifth seed Melita Ferjanic of Trinity 6-3, 6-2. Pylypiv had a tough match in the first round of the day, falling to Joulia Likhanskaia of Bowdoin 6-0, 6-7 (5), 4-6. At the end of the day, both Elkins and Shoemaker secured their places in the semifinals, setting up a full day of Williams-Amherst action.

In doubles, Shin and Stone beat a team from MIT 8-3 to advance to the semifinals where they fell to their teammates Shoemaker and Curran 3-8. After an 8-4 victory in the quarterfinals, Elkins and Pylypiv fell to their top-seeded opponents from Amherst 8-2 in the semifinals.

In the final day of play, the victories went to the Jeffs. In the singles semifinals, Elkins fell to her top-seed Amherst opponent Jordan Brewer 6-2, 6-2 despite incredible rallies and a strong effort. Shoemaker had a close semifinal match against Amherst’s Gabby Devlin in which she fought hard to save the second set but eventually fell 4-6, 7-6 (5), 4-6. Brewer went on to take home top honors, defeating Devlin 6-0, 6-3 in the all-Amherst final.

In the doubles final, Shoemaker and Curran faced the Amherst team of Brewer and Devlin. The women struggled to get a foothold in the match, falling 8-1.

“Our play as a team [last] weekend really demonstrated the positive energy and fight that we strive to compete with every time we step on the court,” Head Coach Alison Swain ’01 said. “In particular, it was good to see so many of our players pushed in their successive rounds in both singles and doubles play.”

The women will next host NESCAC rival Amherst on Saturday at 1 p.m. at the Torrence M. Hunt Tennis Center.