Elizabethtown advances to NCAA second round for second year in a row
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. -- Elizabethtown advanced on to the second round of the NCAA Division III tournament for the second year in a row after sweeping Hunter 5-0 in a first-round match at Williams on Friday afternoon.
Christine Evangelista and Kaitlyn Pellegrino took their third doubles match in eight consecutive games (8-0) to put the four-time defending Commonwealth Conference Champion Blue Jays ahead 1-0. For Pellegrino, the doubles win was her 23rd of the season, a new single-season record.
Pellegrino and Evangelista put together a 22-win doubles season as freshmen, which had each sitting atop the record books. The pair has won 21 of 23 matches together this season, but Pellegrino also has a pair of victories playing with Adriana Scotto.
Scotto and her partner, senior Kristi Noecker, ensured Elizabethtown (17-3) went to singles with the lead after dispatching Stephanie Ahwireng and Angelina Usherenko 8-2 at No. 2 doubles.
Madison Pipkin and Allison Burkhardt made it 3-for-3 for the Jays in the pairs game with a 9-7 win against Jane Selegean and Shena Joseph.
Only two matches were able to get out of their first set in singles, besides Nos. 3 and 5, which Elizabethtown won against first-time opponent Hunter (13-9) handily.
Evangelista won 6-0, 6-0 against Caroline Kaleda at fifth singles for her eighth victory in her last nine matches. Noecker also swept two sets (6-0, 6-0) from Ahwireng at No. 3 to close out E-town's second consecutive NCAA tournament first-round win.
Both wins in the national tournament for the Blue Jays have come on Williams' courts in Williamstown, Mass. Elizabethtown eliminated Endicott there 5-2 last year, before falling to top-ranked -- and eventual national champion -- Williams in the second round.
Elizabethtown's win is its 17th of the season, one shy of tying last year's school record of 18. The triumph sets up a second-round date with Tufts on Saturday. The Blue Jays and Jumbos have never met, meaning E-town will be facing its second first-time opponent in as many days.