Bowdoin pulls away from Middlebury to take regional championship
BRUNSWICK, Maine -- Bowdoin will return to the NCAA quarterfinals after winning three consecutive singles matches to pull away from Middlebury in a 5-2 victory Sunday afternoon at Pickard Courts.
The Polar Bears (16-6) advance to their third NCAA quarterfinal appearance and first since 2012. They also reached the final eight of the tournament in 2008. The Panthers finish their season with a record of 11-8.
Bowdoin took a 2-0 lead in doubles action as the No. 3 pairing of Pilar Giffenig and Tiffany Cheng cruised to a 8-3 win and were followed shortly by Julia Likhanskaia and Emma Lewis, who captured a 8-2 win at No. 1. In the crucial No. 2 doubles match, Middlebury was able to keep its hopes alive as Alexandra Fields and Lily Bondy survived Samantha Stalder and Kate Winingham in a 8-6 triumph to make it 2-1 Polar Bears after doubles action.
In singles play, the squads settled in for a lengthy battle. Nearly 90 minutes into singles action, Middlebury recorded the first point when Margot Marchese posted a 6-3, 6-4 win at No. 5 to even the team score at 2-2.
Bowdoin replied with two victories within a span of a minute as Tiffany Cheng finished off Alexandra Fields 6-3, 6-1, and Kate Winingham dispatched Kaysee Orozco 6-4, 6-4, to put the Polar Bears within a match of advancing.
The competition came down to court Nos. 1 and 4 as they both entered their third sets of play. Stalder rallied from a 3-2 deficit at No. 4 to take a 4-3 lead and held off Bondy for the eventual 6-1, 4-6, 6-4 victory to put the Polar Bears over the top.
Middlebury and Bowdoin were tied a set at No. 1 singles and Bowdoin trailed a set, but was up 4-3 in the second at No. 6 when decision was reached. The match finished in a cumulative time of 3 hours and 42 minutes.