WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. – The second-seeded Williams College women's tennis team was at the top of its game on Saturday, as the No. 4-ranked Ephs defeated third-seeded Tufts University, 5-0, during the semifinal round of the NESCAC Championship in Williamstown, Massachusetts.
|Tomo Iwasaki was a crucial reason the team reached the semifinals.|
Senior captain Hannah Atkinson put a stamp on the match, edging freshman Katherine Wiley, 6-2, 6-1, at the third slot.
The Ephs (14-4, 7-1 in NESCAC) will try to claim their third consecutive NESCAC Championship, as the squad will suit up against top-seeded and No. 2-ranked Middlebury (14-3, 8-0 in the NESCAC) for all the marbles at 1 p.m. on Sunday at Williams College. The Panthers, who lost, 5-0, to the Ephs in the 2016 title match, will try to earn their first conference title, as they defeated fifth-seeded and No. 8-ranked Bowdoin (14-5, 5-3 in NESCAC), 5-2, in the semifinals.
The No. 6-ranked Jumbos (14-6, 6-3 in NESCAC) advanced to the semifinals for the first time since 2011 and for the fifth time, dating back to the 2007-08 season. The Jumbos will turn their attention to a possible berth into the NCAA Division III Tournament, as the squad qualified for the event in 15 of the last 16 seasons.
The Ephs, who outlasted the visiting Jumbos, 7-2, on April 29, came out firing on Saturday, as junior Julia Cancio and freshman Emily Zheng led off with an 8-2 win over senior captains Alexa Meltzer and Conner Calabro during the No. 3 doubles flight.
The Ephs relied on a blend of experience and youth at the second slot, with Atkinson and freshman Chloe Henderson taking the court together. The pair squeezed out an 8-6 victory over sophomores Otilia Popa and Tomo Iwasaki.
Junior Juli Raventos and senior captain Linda Shin put their imprints on the doubles court, besting sophomore Mina Karamercan and junior Lauren Louks, 8-3, at the top slot, which gave the hosts a commanding 3-0 advantage heading into the singles competition.
Sophomore Leah Bush refused to allow her squad to have a letdown on the individual side, as the Weston, Florida, native rattled off an unblemished straight-set win, 6-0, 6-0, against Louks at the second slot. Atkinson then allowed the Ephs to celebrate with her match-clinching performance at the third slot, as the squad will have an opportunity to win its eighth NESCAC Championship on Sunday.
Written by Trevor Wenners, Athletic Communications Intern