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Women’s tennis reaches NCAA quarterfinal

MIDDLEBURY — The Middlebury College women’s tennis team won an NCAA Division III regional this past weekend on its own courts and advanced to next week’s Elite Eight in Kalamazoo, Mich. The trip to the NCAA quarterfinal round is the team’s second straight and fifth overall. The Panthers are hoping for their first trip to a semifinal since 2005.
The 15-4 Panthers, ranked No. 5, will meet NESCAC foe Amherst in their quarterfinal match. Middlebury has twice defeated Amherst in hotly contested matches this spring, 6-3 in the regular season and 5-4 in the league tournament.
In this past Saturday’s regional final, the Panthers defeated No. 13 Johns Hopkins (18-5), 5-1, starting by sweeping the three doubles matches.
The Panthers opened with an 8-1 win at No. 3 doubles by Alexandra Fields and Christina Puccinelli over Jody Law and Caroline Greydak. Middlebury’s Sadie Shackelford and Kaysee Orozco made the score 2-0 with an 8-2 victory over Megumi Chen and Sunaina Vohra in the second flight. The No. 1 tandem of Ria Gerger and Lily Bondy completed the sweep with an 8-4 triumph over Ashnaa Rao and Mikey Barthelmass.
In the singles matches, Middlebury picked up its fourth point with a 6-3, 6-4 win at No. 1 from Gerger over Rao. Johns Hopkins claimed a point when Kimberly Zou defeated Shackelford in the sixth spot by scores of 6-4, 6-4. Puccinelli clinched the match for the Panthers with a 4-6, 6-1, 6-1 triumph in the fourth spot over Vohra.
The remaining three matches went unfinished. Fields grabbed the opening set by a 6-2 score and was ahead, 4-3, at No. 2 against Chen, while Bondy was up by a set (7-5) and led, 3-2, against Law at the No. 3 spot. Molly Paradies won the opening set (7-6) and was tied with Greydak, 2-2, in the second set.
Middlebury advanced to the final by defeating The College of New Jersey on Friday, 5-0, in a match played indoors at Nelson Arena.
In doubles, Fields and Puccinelli picked up an 8-1 win over Anna Prestera and Alyssa Baldi at No. 3. At No. 1, Gerger and defeated Grace Minassian and Maddy Stone, 8-1. At No. 2 Shackelford and Orozco bested Emma Allen and Sneha Rangu, 8-3.
In singles, Middlebury picked up a 6-0, 6-2 win at No. 1 from Gerger over Reedman. Puccinelli clinched the match for the Panthers via a 6-1, 6-1 triumph in the fourth spot over Prestera.
The remaining four matches went unfinished. Fields grabbed the opening set by a 6-2 score and was ahead, 2-1, at No. 2 against Allen, while Bondy was up by a set (6-3) and led 1-0 against Rangu at No. 3. The other two matches reach the court.

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