Williams College and Pomona-Pitzer advanced to Wednesday’s semifinal round with hard-fought quarterfinal wins on Tuesday morning. Williams defeated Mary Washington 5-0, while Pomona-Pitzer, which trailed 2-1 after doubles play, rallied to sneak past Bowdoin 5-3. Both morning matches were played outdoors in cool and windy conditions.
In the afternoon, Denison University and Washington and Lee advanced with matches that lasted over five hours. Denison rallied from a 2-1 deficit after doubles play to defeat Emory 5-2, while Washington and Lee slipped past a scrappy Gustavus squad 5-3. The afternoon matches began outdoors, however play was moved inside after doubles play due to rain and cold.
Williams took control of its match against Mary Washington early winning all three doubles matches. Williams took a 2-0 lead with decisive wins at #1 and #2 doubles, however at the #3 position, Grace Baljon and Allison Rottkamp had to come from behind to defeat Kate Malpeli and Megan Lawlor 8-6 to extend the Ephs lead to 3-0. Williams received straight set victories from Ashley Parsons and Nicole Reich at #3 and #4 singles to close out the match at 5-0. The Ephs were close to picking up another victory at #6 singles by Annie Hancock, however the other three matches (#1, #2, and #5 singles), which were very close, were stopped once Williams picked up the decisive fifth point. The Ephs will be making their second consecutive semifinal appearance and sixth appearance in the past eight years.
The other morning match between Pomona-Pitzer and Bowdoin was a nailbiter. Kaitlin Raymond and Liz Pedowitz of Bowdin defeated Zoe Fischer and Alex Margolin of Pomona-Pitzer 8-2 at #3 doubles to give Bowdoin a 1-0 lead. The Sagehens tied the score at 1-1 when Siobhan Finicane and Olivia Muesse defeated Kristen Raymond and Sarah D’Elia 8-4 at the #2 position. Bowdoin’s #2 tandem of Brett Davis and Rachel Waldman defeated Rebecca Lange and Kasyn Stevenson 8-5 to give the Bear’s a 2-1 lead after doubles play. Pomona-Pitzer came charging back in singles winning at #3, #1, and #6 to take a 4-2 lead. Olivia Muesse defeated Kaitlin Raymond 6-1, 6-0 at the #3 position, while Siobhan Finicane defeated Kristen Raymond 6-4, 6-3 at #1, and then Kasyn Stevenson defeated Liz Pedowitz 6-1, 6-3. Bowdoin pulled within one at 4-3 when Sarah D’Elia defeated Rebecca Lange 7-6, (2), 6-2 at the #2 position. Pomona-Pitzer claimed the fifth and deciding point when Lindsday Clough defeated Rachel Waldman 6-2, 4-6, 6-2 at the #5 position. The Sagehens will be making their first appearance in the final four since winning the national title in 1992.
The afternoon matches were started outside in chilly conditions with brisk winds. Emory jumped out to a 2-0 lead in doubles as Tshema Nash and Sabra Rogers won 8-0 at #1 and Kirsten Hillock and Jenny Moscato won 8-1 at #2. The #3 doubles match was a classic battle and Denison claimed a critical doubles point when Erin Gorsch and Kara Zdanowski edged Lorne McManigle and Sara Vrabec in a tiebreaker 9-8 (8-6). Denison picked up three straight wins in singles to take a 4-2 lead as Marta Drane defeated Sabra Rogers 6-0, 6-3 at #3, Kristin Cobb defeated Lorne McManigle 6-3, 6-4, and then Meghan Damico won a marathon match at #1 against Tshema Nash 7-5, 7-6 (2). Denison then picked up the decisive fifth point at the #5 position when Kara Zdanowski defeated Leah Seyburn 6-1, 6-3. With the victory, Denison advances to the NCAA Semifinals for the first time in the program’s history.
Top-seeded Washington and Lee won the #1 and #2 doubles matches to take an early 2-0 lead, however Gustavus battled back to claim an important point at the #2 position as Sam Frank and Alli O’Neal defeated Catherine Reed and Leah Weston 8-6. The Generals increased their lead to 3-1 when Lauren Caire defeated Ali O’Neal 6-3, 6-0 at the #3 position, however the Gusties came charging back with surprising wins at the #1 and #2 positions as Jenni White upset Katie Tabb 6-2, 7-5 at #1 and then Sierra Krebsbach slipped past Kelly Will 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 to tie the match at 3-3. Washington and Lee then showed why they are 27-0 on the season as they claimed straight set wins at the #4 and #5 positions to claim the 5-3 victory. Leah Weston defeated Sam Frank 6-4, 6-4 at #4 and Rebecca Timmis defeated Erica Dobson 6-2, 6-1 at #5.
The semifinals will take place on Wednesday with Williams facing Pomona-Pitzer at 9 am and then Denison battling Washington and Lee at 2 pm. The winners will play for the national championship on Wednesday at 1 pm.