Courtesy of Kenyon Athletic Communications
GAMBIER, Ohio – With Saturday's 5-0 result, the Carnegie Mellon University women's tennis team ousted Kenyon College from the NCAA Division III Championship for the second straight season. Last year at CMU, the Tartans knocked off Kenyon, 5-1. This year, the No. 11-ranked Tartans came to Kenyon's VandenBerg Courts to upend the No. 13-ranked Ladies.
The loss for Kenyon finalized the Ladies' team record at 19-4. While the team's season is over, sophomore Erika Oku (Hinsdale, IL/Hinsdale Central) and senior Maggie Sweeney (Grosse Pointe, MI/ Grosse Pointe South) will move on to play in the NCAA Singles and Doubles Championships, which will take place May 24-26 at Kalamazoo College. Oku will participate in singles play and join Sweeney in doubles action.
Saturday, Carnegie Mellon got off to a quick start against Kenyon and never slowed down. The Tartans racked up their first two team points by winning No. 2 doubles, 8-3, and No. 3 doubles, 8-4. Kenyon had an excellent chance to gain its first point, but the Ladies' No. 1 doubles team fell by an 8-7 (7-1) count after it couldn't make leads of 4-1 and 7-4 hold up.
That comeback win, which completed the doubles sweep, was enough to fuel the Tartans to the finish. Needing just two wins in singles play, Carnegie Mellon got them from Janabelle Wu at No. 4 and from Danna Taylor at No. 1.
The Tartans, now 19-7, move on to the NCAA's quarterfinal round of play and await the winner coming out of the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps regional pod.
Contributions from Kenyon Athletic Communications
The No. 13th ranked Kenyon Ladies earned a 5-3 victory over No. 33-ranked Hope Flying Dutch in the second round of the NCAA Division III Women's Tennis Championship. The win advances Kenyon into the regional final against No. 11-ranked Carnegie Mellon which will be played at noon on Saturday. The Tartans claimed a 5-0 win over Wheaton in Friday's other regional semifinal.
Kenyon gained an early lead on Hope in doubles play, as Ilana Blackwood (Saint James, Barbados/Queens) and Daria Beshentseva (Moscow, Russia/Lyceum 1535) cruised to an 8-2 win at the No. 2 doubles flight. Then the No. 3 duo of Annie Reiner (New York, NY/Riverdale Country Day) and Kayla Pukys (Louisville, OH/Louisville) posted an 8-4 victory.
In singles, Reiner won 6-0, 6-1 at No. 6, while Maggie Sweeney (Grosse Pointe, MI/Grosse Pointe South) claimed a 6-1, 6-2 at No. 4. In the No. 5 match, Pukys posted a 3-6, 6-4, 6-4 win which clinched the team victory for Kenyon.
The No. 13-ranked Kenyon Ladies (18-3) were one of eight programs chosen to host an NCAA Division III Women's Tennis regional, May 9-11, in Gambier, Ohio.
The Ladies earned a berth and a first-round bye in the NCAA Tournament after winning the North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC) tournament last week in Indianapolis, Ind. The Ladies will await the winner of No. 33-ranked Hope (17-5) and Principia (9-12), a first round match that will be played on Thursday, May 9. The Flying Dutch won the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MIAA) championship and the automatic berth that came with it. Principia won the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SLIAC) Championship. Kenyon’s second-round match will be on Friday, May 10.
In the other side of the bracket, John Carroll (15-5) will take on Wheaton (16-5) in the opening round of the tournament. The winner will take on No. 11-ranked Carnegie Mellon (17-7) in the second round at Kenyon.
The teams will play a single-elimination tournament with the first, second- and third-rounds played at regional sites. Kalamazoo College will host the team championships finals, which will be held May 20-22 at Stowe Stadium in Kalamazoo, Michigan.
The championships provide for a 49-team tournament. Automatic qualification (AQ) is granted to 40 conference champions, which form "Pool A." One team will be selected from true independents and schools from conferences that do not have an automatic bid for their champions (Pool B). The remaining 8 teams are selected from those teams in conferences with automatic bids that did not win their conference's AQ and the remaining Pool B institutions (Pool C). The teams are geographically paired, whenever possible.