The Williams Ephs advanced to the 2008 NCAA Division III Women’s Tennis Championship match by defeating the Pomona-Pitzer Sagehens 5-2 on Wednesday morning on the campus of Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, Minnesota. Williams will be appearing in the national final for the fifth time in the program’s history, but this is the Ephs’ first appearance since 2002 when they won the national championship.
Williams began the match by winning the #3 doubles point as Nicole Reich and Annie Hancock defeated Zoe Fisher and Alex Margolin 8-2. The Sagehens quickly tied the match at 1-1 as Siobhan Finicane and Olivia Muesse won the #1 doubles point 8-6 over Cary Gibson and Annie Schneidman. The Ephs’ Grace Baljon and Allison Rottkamp were in control of the #2 doubles match at 7-4 when Pomona-Pitzer’s Rebecca Lange and Kasyn Stevenson came back to win 9-8, 7-2 in the tiebreaker. “We have had a lot of comebacks at #2 doubles this season, and their win today really gave us some steam going into singles play,” said Pomona-Pitzer head coach Ann Lebedeff.
Williams tied the match at 2-2 when Nicole Reich defeated Kathryn Myers 6-4, 6-1 at #4 singles. The Ephs’ solid play continued through #3, #5, and #6 singles. Allison Rottkamp earned the third point for Williams by defeating Lindsay Clough 6-2, 6-2 at the #5 singles position. “I thought I played really well today. I played within myself and I thought I moved the ball around well. It helped having my teammates next to me also playing well, winning their matches,” said Rottkamp after the match. Williams went on to win the #6 singles point when Annie Hancock defeated Kasyn Stevenson 6-2, 6-1. The match was decided when Ashley Parsons defeated Olivia Muesse 6-3, 6-3 at #3 singles.
Two singles matches did not finish as both #1 and #2 singles were in the third set. Williams’ Cary Gibson led Pomona-Pitzer’s Siobhan Finicane 0-6, 6-2, 4-3 in #1 singles, and Williams’ Grace Baljon led Rebecca Lange 6-0, 3-6, 3-1 in #2 singles.
Williams head coach Alison Swain stated, “The last few matches in this tournament we’ve gone up 3-0 in doubles, so it was tough to be down 2-1 going into singles. I think it gave the team lots of opportunity to gain confidence in their singles play and realize that on any given day if it comes down to singles, we’re ready.” Pomona-Pitzer head coach Ann Lebedeff commented, “Today was not a letdown for us. Anyone can beat anyone at this level. I felt we played well. Williams is a deep, more experienced team, but this week has given us a lot of valuable experience to build on for next season. We will definitely be ready to play tomorrow morning. ”
Pomona-Pitzer, which is now 17-8 overall, will face either Washington and Lee or Denison in the third-place match on Thursday at 9 a.m. (CDT), while Williams, which improved to 20-3 overall, will play the winner of the Washington and Lee vs. Denison match in the national final on Thursday at 1 p.m. (CDT).