May 10, 2009

WILLIAMSTOWN, MA. - Despite a relentless wind and tough on court conditions, Williams (19-2) women's tennis advanced past Middlebury (11-10), 5-1, and will head to Georgia for the Elite 8 of the NCAA tournament.

The two conference opponents had already faced off twice earlier in the season, with Williams taking both matches. The match was tighter today than it had been in previous contests, as the two of three unfinished matches were involved in three set battles while the third unfinished match appeared in Middlebury's control.

Nevertheless, the Ephs pulled out the win after taking a 2-1 lead out of doubles. Williams' Annie Hancock and Kristin Alotta fell at court three to Jamie Haar and Victoria Aiello of Middlebury, 8-4. The Ephs took the matches at courts one and two by 8-6 scores.

Alotta redeemed her doubles loss by tallying the first singles point for the Ephs. She defeated Clare Burke at court two, 6-0, 6-3. Nikki Reich followed shortly at court three, beating the Panther's Elizabeth Stone, 6-2, 6-2. Lucy Marchese, after taking a first set tiebreak, closed out a routine second set to seal the victory for the Ephs.

"We are thrilled to be heading to Atlanta," said Williams' head coach Alison Swain. "We definitely feel privileged, and this is something we have worked very hard for. Middlebury was definitely more prepared to play us today, and the wind was tough to adjust to but we showed our positivity and mental fortitude."

Williams will play the winner of the Mary Washington/Denison match up on Tuesday, May 19.

Williams 5, Middlebury 1

1) Gibson/Reich (W) def. Stone/Kurien (M) --- 8-6
2) Baljon/French (W) def. Burke/Burke (W) --- 8-6
3) Haar/Aiello (M) def. Hancock/Alotta (W) --- 8-4

1) Grace Baljon (W) vs. Victoria Aiello (M) --- 6-7(1), 6-1, 3-3
2) Chandra Kurien (M) led Cary Gibson (W) --- 4-6, 6-2, 3-2
3) Nikki Reich (W) def. Elizabeth Stone (M) --- 6-2, 6-2
4) Kristin Alotta (W) def. Clare Burke (M) --- 6-0, 6-3
5) Lucy Marchese (W) def. Anna Burke (M) --- 7-6(5), 6-2
6) Jamie Haar (M) led Annie Hancock (W) --- 6-3, 5-4