May 14, 2010

Courtesy of Wheaton (Mass.) Athletics

The Wheaton College women's tennis team won its debut in the NCAA Tournament on Friday, picking up a 5-2 first-round victory over Ithaca College of New York in Williams College's Chapman Rink. Winners of 10 straight, the Lyons improved to 17-2, while junior Catherine Teague (Manchester, NH/Central) won her 100th career match during the contest. The Bombers ended the season at 15-5.

Wheaton, which is ranked 10th in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association's (ITA) Northeast poll, knocked off the 17th-ranked squad, as Ithaca qualified for the NCAA Tournament for the fourth straight year. The Lyons, who had never competed as a team at the NCAAs but sent individuals in 1982, 1983 and 2003, moved to 3-0 all time against the Bombers after also earning a 6-3 win on March 16 in Hilton Head, South Carolina.

The Blue and White faces Williams tomorrow at 9:30 a.m. in the second round. The Ephs won the last two NCAA Tournaments and are ranked first in the ITA's national poll.

The Lyons captured two of the three doubles points, with junior Ellen Van Faasen (Manchester, MA/Manchester Essex Regional) and sophomore Rosalyn Chesky (South Hadley, MA/Wilbraham & Monson Academy) completing their match first, dropping the opening game before coming back for a quick 8-3 win in the third position.

Senior Katherine Knies (Purdys, NY/North Salem) and sophomore Allesandra DiOrio (Cumberland, RI/Lincoln School) trailed just 3-2 in the second spot before suffering an 8-4 setback, as Ithaca tied the match, but Wheaton's regionally-ranked doubles tandem earned a win in the first position to give the Lyons a 2-1 edge.

Teague and junior Sarah Geocaris (Newport Beach, CA/Sage Hill School), who are 15th in the ITA's Northeast region poll, lost the first game and worked through two ties, including at 4-4, before slowly pulling away for the 8-6 triumph over junior Melissa Nunez (Rockaway, NJ/Morris Hills) and freshman Cristina Nunez (Rockaway, NJ/Morris Hills).

During singles play, Teague finished off a dominant 6-2, 6-0 victory in the second spot for her milestone win before Geocaris fell to Cristina Nunez, 6-1, 6-2 in a battle of regionally-ranked players in the top position. Nunez is 19th in the Northeast, as she brought the Bombers within 3-2, while Geocaris is 21st.

However, DiOrio responded with a 6-2, 6-3 victory at four to put the Lyons back up by two before Van Faasen clinched Wheaton's victory in the third spot, capturing a marathon match with junior Melanie Cohen (Ambler, PA/Hatboro-Horsham) by a 6-2, 4-6, 6-3 count. Chesky and Knies were also in action when the match ended, having started following Geocaris' and Teague's matches. Chesky nearly notched the Lyons' fifth win at six, as she led 6-0, 4-1.