May 15, 2010

Couresy of Denison Athletics

The No. 5 Denison women's tennis team will be making their fourth consecutive trip to the NCAA Division III Quarterfinals (Elite 8) following a 5-2 victory over No. 15 Johns Hopkins University on Saturday from the outdoor courts in Granville, Ohio.

Denison junior Kristin Cobb (Dayton, Ohio/Oakwood) punched the program's sixth ticket to the NCAA's championship round with her three-set victory over Nandita Krishnan at second singles. Cobb took the opening set 6-2 but Krishnan battled back for a 6-4 victory, forcing the decisive third set. Things started well for Cobb as she took a 4-2 lead over the freshman from Chennai, India. Krishnan would take the next two points, tying things at 4-4. The next three points would see the two competitors break each others serves, giving Cobb a 6-5 lead and serving for a regional championship. Cobb wasted little time, taking a 40-0 lead in the point, forcing a triple-match point situation that was cashed in when Krishnan's service return found the net.

The victory for Cobb marked her 17th singles win of the year. Earlier in in doubles, Cobb and teammate Marta Drane (Wilmington, Del./Tower Hill) kicked things off by rolling to an 8-1 victory over Anita Bhamidipati and Carolyn Warren. The victory for Drane was her 70th career doubles win, moving her past former teammate Kendra Murray and into first place in the Denison record books.

Denison's second doubles point came from Erin Chadwell (Chicago, Ill./Travers City Central) and Kara Zdanowski (Ann Arbor, Mich./Pioneer) who dispatched Courtney Boger and Krishnan, 8-5. The Blue Jays got on the board at third doubles when Ellen Berlinghof and Candace Wu staved off a furious comeback by Denison's Jane Lent and Alex Marcell. The Denison duo forced a tiebreaker on a nice charge to the net by Marcell, but in the tiebreaker Johns Hopkins rolled, 7-1.

In singles play Denison got a big lift thanks to a pair of quick victories by Sarah Short (Cheswick, Pa./Fox Chapel) at third singles, and Chadwell in the fourth flight. Short defeated Bhamidipati, 6-1, 6-3 and Chadwell downed Mallory Willenborg, 6-2, 6-3, giving Denison a 4-1 lead.

Johns Hopkins would get a point at first singles but Cobb's victory would push the fifth and sixth singles matches off the court before they could be finished.

Denison will return to action on Tuesday (May 25) in Fredricksburg, Va. against an opponent to be determined. This is Denison's sixth Elite 8 appearance. Last year the Big Red suffered a heartbreaking 5-4 loss to eventual national champion, Williams College. In 2008 the Big Red had their most success at the national championship, defeating Emory in the quarterfinals on their way to a third-place finish.