Women’s tennis advances in NCAAs
MIDDLEBURY — The Middlebury College women’s tennis team breezed through the NCAA Division II Regional it hosted this past weekend and advanced to the final eight of the tournament for the fourth straight season.
The 16-3 Panthers will play NESCAC foe Wesleyan in the quarterfinal on Monday in Claremont, Calif. The Panthers have defeated the Cardinals twice this spring, 6-3 and, more recently, 5-3 in a semifinal of the NESCAC tournament.
A quarterfinal victory would send the Panthers into a semifinal vs. either Emory or Chicago, two teams Middlebury has not faced this season. Top-ranked NESCAC champion Williams is in the other side of the bracket. Middlebury has reached the semifinal round in each of the past two seasons, but has never played in an NCAA final.
Middlebury won the regional final, 5-1, over Skidmore (17-6), in a match played at Middlebury’s Proctor courts.
The Panthers won two of three doubles matches. At No. 3, Heather Boehm and Molly Paradies picked up the first point with an 8-0 win over Jessica Ampel and Alexa Goldberg. The No. 1 Thoroughbred team of Risa Fukushige and Michelle Fuca evened the score at 1-1 with an 8-5 victory over Katherine Hughes and Skylar Schossberger. At No. 2 Maddi Stow and Catherine Blazye edged Skidmore’s Renee Karchere-Sun and Ada Wiggins, 8-6.
The Panthers then clinched the match with three straight-set singles wins. At No. 5 Schossberger defeated Laura Swenson, 6-0, 6-2; Hughes topped Wiggins at No. 2, 6-4, 6-0; and Boehm clinched the match with a 6-1, 6-0 triumph over Karchere-Sun at No. 3.
Blayze, Christina Puccinelli and Paradies were all leading their matches when Boehm finished her victory. On Friday the Panthers had dispatched visiting Geneseo State, 5-0, in their first NCAA match.
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