Williams ekes past CMS 5-1 to advance to NCAA championship round
KALAMAZOO, Mich. -- Two months ago in a match played on the campus of Claremont-Mudd-Scripps, Willaims fell 5-4, but Tuesday was a much different story as the Ephs (22-4) downed previously undefeated CMS (31-1) 5-1 to advance to Wednesday's NCAA Division III title tilt.
With the win, the Ephs snapped the Athenas' 31-match season win streak and extended their own season win streak to eight and head coach Alison Swain's NCAA tournament win streak to 29.
Tuesday Claremont-Mudd-Scripps captured the first point of the match when its top tandem of Kristin Lim and Caroline Ward downed the Eph duo of junior Kara Shoemaker and sophomore Rebecca Curran 8-4. With the match 3-2 in favor of the CMS pairing, Lim and Ward won the next three games to take control of the match.
The Ephs tied the match at one when their No. 2 doubles team of junior Kathleen Elkins and sophomore Maria Pylypiv won 8-2 against Sarah Kukino and Crystal Lim. The Eph duo opened up a 3-0 lead, only to see the Athenas cut that lead to 3-2 before Elkins and Pylypiv rattled off the last five games in a row, evening the score of the match at one.
The deciding doubles point came down to No. 3 doubles, where senior Nancy Worley and sophomore Monica Pastor, playing for just the fourth time this season as a team, pulled out a 9-7 win. Worley and Pastor are now 3-1 on the season.
"Nancy and Monica just kept working hard and believing and trusting in their games," Swain said. "They hit several real nice returns when the match was 8-7 to win."
Sophomore Maria Pylypiv captured her 26th singles match of the year when she posted a 6-0, 6-0 win at five singles, making the score 3-1 in favor of the Ephs.
Shortly after the Pylypiv win, classmate Monica Pastor authored her own straight-set win 6-1, 6-1 at six singles against Yvonne Likomanova to boost the Eph lead to 4-1.
Senior captain Nancy Worley closed out the match for Williams when she downed Sarah Kukino in straight sets 6-2, 6-0, lifting the Ephs into a record sixth consecutive NCAA title match.
"It's great to see and feel a real tangible result of this team's improvement over the season," Swain said. "This team has come so far this season and improved so much that [Wednesday] is going to be a celebration of that work and improvement."