Women’s tennis finishes 19-2, notches bid to NCAAs

Last Sunday, women’s tennis faced rival Amherst in the NESCAC Championships final. Unfortunately, the Ephs would have to settle for second place after the Jeffs defeated them 5-1.

The women defeated Bowdoin 5-3 on Saturday in the NESCAC semifinals. They won one of three doubles matches and three of five singles matches to move on to the playoffs. Rebecca Curran ’15 and co-captain Kara Shoemaker ’14 won their No. 1 doubles match 8-5. Co-captain Kathleen Elkins ’14 and Maria Pylypiv ’15 also defeated their opponents, winning their match 8-2. Pylypiv was also successful in singles play, winning her match 6-4, 6-1. At No. 2 singles, Linda Shin ’17 lost her first set 3-6, but rallied to win the second one 6-3 and was winning her third match 4-1 when her opponent had to retire. Monica Pastor ’15 fought hard in her match, winning her first set 6-1, but eventually lost 6-1, 4-6, 2-6. Curran persevered after losing her second set to defeat her opponent 6-2, 6-7(6), 6-4.

In the championship bout, the team of Elkins and Pylypiv  claimed the only doubles victory for the Ephs, winning 8-2, while Shoemaker and Curran lost 4-8 and Shin and Hannah Atkinson ’17 lost 5-8. Elkins and Pylypiv’s win turned out to be the only victory for the Ephs in this contest, losing all of the singles matches that were played to completion. Shin was winning her match against Jen Newman 6-4, 4-6, 3-2 but the match had to be left unfinished. The same happened to Pastor, who was winning 7-6, 2-1, and to Curran, who was winning 7-6, 1-0.

Elkins was proud of her team’s composure and sees the team using the loss as a learning opportunity.

“Everyone played with calm confidence and we never panicked under the pressure situations,” Elkins said. “Losing to Amherst was obviously disappointing, but it is still a great achievement to reach the NESCAC Championship match, and the loss pointed out a lot of things that we need to work on to be fully prepared entering the NCAA tournament.”

On Monday, the women received an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament. They will be hosting the first, second and third rounds of the 50-field tournament, starting this upcoming Friday.

The women have received a bye through the first round of tournament play, and will face the winner of Friday’s Ithaca/Staten Island matchup on Saturday at 2 p.m.

The region championship is set for Sunday at 1 p.m., with a spot in the National Quarterfinals on the line. The Ephs have a record 63 wins in NCAA Div. III play and have won six-straight national championships.

The individual tournament selections will be announced on May 7.

The Ephs are currently 19-2, with their only two losses coming against conference rival Amherst, and ranked No. 3 nationally, behind both Emory and Amherst.