The Denison University Big Red claimed third place at the NCAA Championships by defeating the Sagehens from Pomona-Pitzer Colleges 5-2 on Thursday at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, Minnesota. Denison led 2-1 after the completion of doubles matches, and won three of the next four singles matches to record its highest NCAA finish in program history. The Big Red finished the season at 21-4, while the Sagehens finished its season at 17-9.
Denison stormed out to a 1-0 lead after earning the #3 doubles point when Erin Gorsich and Kara Zdanowski defeated Zoe Fisher and Alex Margolin 8-4. “Our #3 doubles team did not lose a match during the team competition,” said Denison head coach Peter Burling. Pomona-Pitzer evened the match at 1-1 when Siobhan Finicane and Olivia Muesse defeated Marta Drane and Kristin Cobb 8-3 at #1 doubles. In #2 doubles, the Big Red’s Meghan Damico and Kendra Murray held a 7-4 lead over Rebecca Lange and Kasyn Stevenson before the Sagehens pulled to within 7-7. However, Damico and Murray won the next two service games to win the match and give Denison a 2-1 lead going into doubles play.
Denison’s Kara Zdanowski added a third point for the Big Red as she defeated Lindsay Clough 6-0, 6-0 at #5 singles. “She was the player of the tournament for us this week. Kara won some big matches in singles and doubles, including the deciding match against Emory on Tuesday,” said Burling.
Pomona-Pitzer pulled to within one point when Siobhan Finicane defeated Meghan Damico 6-2, 6-0 at #1 singles. However, Denison’s depth proved to be the deciding factor as the Big Red won points at #2 and #4 singles to clinch the match. Erin Gorsich defeated Kathryn Myers 6-2, 6-3 in #4 singles as the Big Red closed in on the victory. Kristin Cobb sealed the match at #2 singles when she defeated Rebecca Lange 6-3, 6-2. In #3 singles, Olivia Muesse of Pomona-Pitzer led Marta Drane 7-5, 3-5. Denison’s Kendra Murray led Kasyn Stevenson 6-4, 4-5 when play was halted.
“We had to work for our points today. Pomona is a good team and is very well coached. We felt we were a little stronger today as today was a true team effort,” said Burling.