April 29, 2010


By Alex Prewitt
Special to NCAA.com

With postseason play across the country already in full swing, ninth-ranked DePauw has taken its share of conference glory, as the Tigers captured their third straight Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (SCAC) Championship in dominating fashion, sweeping 30th-ranked and third seeded Sewanee in the title, 9-0, on Sunday to earn an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.

DePauw quickly swept doubles play, as only the No. 1 tandem of seniors Greer Mackie and Kayla Smith did not win by an 8-3 margin. Singles play was more of the same for the Tigers. Smith took down junior Lindsay Wilburn, 6-1, 6-1, while senior Courtney Griffin was her slate at No. 6 singles in a 6-2, 6-1 decision. All told, five of DePauw’s six singles players won in straight sets. Junior Janelle Arita, at first singles, dropped the first set, 6-1, to freshman Jenny Liles but rebounded with consecutive 6-3 sets to take the overall match.

DePauw moved into the finals thanks to a 6-1 victory over Rhodes in the semifinals and a 9-0 rout of Oglethorpe in the opening round. Since dropping two straight contests to nationally ranked foes in Madison, Wisc. in early April, the Tigers have now won five straight and have dropped just two aggregate matches since April 13.

In other SCAC action on Sunday, No. 19 Trinity University rolled over Rhodes, 8-1, to snatch third place.  The second-seeded Tigers took down the No. 4 Lynx after being upset by Sewanee in the semifinals. Trinity kicked the match off by taking No. 2 and No. 3 doubles, while the first doubles pairing of freshman Katie Budinsky and junior Erin Jamison narrowly fell, 9-8. But thanks to the efforts of sophomore Katie Griffith and freshman Thavindra Ekanayake at No. 2 doubles and junior Megan Jackson and sophomore Kassie Seger at No. 3, Trinity took command of the match.

From there, the Tigers surged. Ekanayke won at second singles, 6-3, 6-0, while the third through sixth singles players from Trinity all followed suit, emerging victorious in straight sets. Griffith, at first singles, outlasted junior tri-captain Anna Beth Sanford in a tiebreaking third set, 7-6, 4-6, 10-5.

MARY WASHINGTON TAKES CAC TITLE: While down south DePauw was busy wrapped up its conference title, No. 16 Mary Washington took home the CAC Championship at home thanks to a 7-2 decision over Salisbury.

The Eagles, playing on the courts that the NCAA Tournament will be hosted on, fell behind 2-1 after doubles, including in a third-set tiebreaker at No. 3 doubles. But Mary Washington, now 15-7 on the year, swept singles play to join the Tigers with an automatic bid.

At No. 2 singles, sophomore Katie Schafter had the most dominating day, winning 6-0, 6-1, while classmate Michelle Meadows at third singles followed suit with a 6-0, 6-2 rout. Freshman Cassie Bowman and sophomore Casey Malcolm, at fifth and sixth singles, respectively, each went into a third set but prevailed in the tiebreaker to pad the Eagles’ margin of victory.

Granted, some of its losses have been to the nation’s best, but there’s no doubt about it that Coe College is in a slide.

Now owners of a winless streak that dates back to Oct. 10, 2009, the 26th-ranked Kohawks have not won a single dual match in nine tries in the spring and have fallen under .500 at 9-10 on the year. Despite entering the spring with a 9-2 record, Coe has fallen victim to Emory and Chicago twice, both of which are ranked in the top five in the nation.

But most recently, the Kohawks fell to unranked Kalamazoo College and Hope College in back-to-back days on the road last weekend. On Saturday, Coe dropped a 5-4 decision to Hope, one in which the host Flying Dutch got victories at fourth through sixth singles – two of which came in straight sets – and took both No. 2 and No. 3 doubles. The Kohawks have proven that their top three can match up with any in the country, and that was most event versus Hope. At No. 1 singles, junior Hannah Jensen won naught-naught, while sisters Andrea and Michelle Schupbach each won in straight sets at No. 2 and No. 3 singles, respectively.

The NESCAC continues to be the most unpredictable conference in the country, as No. 15 Middlebury dropped 7-2 decisions to No. 17 Tufts and No. 2 Williams last year, both of which were at home … With the MIAC Tournament looming this weekend, the seeds are all but set. Still left to be determined, though, is the first seed, where Carleton and Gustavus Adolphis sit tied, both at 9-0 in conference play … No. 13 Johns Hopkins suffered a big defeat to Div. I Delaware on Saturday, 7-0, but is still in a good position, for the Centennial Conference Tournament beginning this weekend. The Blue Jays have Haverford in the first round, which they took down, 9-0, just hours before the loss to Delaware. Johns Hopkins is undefeated in conference play this year.