April 26, 2014

DU earns berth in NCAC title match

The 26th-ranked Denison women's tennis team earned a berth in the North Coast Athletic Conference Championship match following a 5-2 victory over Oberlin on Saturday afternoon in Granville, Ohio.

With the semifinal win, the Big Red (11-8) secured a spot in the NCAC title match against the winner of the DePauw-Kenyon semifinal match. Oberlin (12-9) will take on the loser of the other semifinal in the third-place match. Both games will be played on Sunday in Granville at 12 p.m.

The Denison third doubles team of Heather Abzug and Eleni Coleman notched the first point of the match following an 8-3 win over Erin Johnson and Olivia Hay.  The Yeowomen tied the contest with an 8-5 decision at No. 2 doubles.

The Big Red regained its one-point advantage with a hard-fought win at the top singles flight.  For the second-time this season, the No. 1 team of Kelsey Geppner and Taylor Hawkins faced off against Oberlin's top doubles tandem, Brenna Sheldon and Grace Porter. At the Oberlin Invitational last September, Porter and Sheldon recorded an 8-5 win over Geppner and Hawkins, who were playing just their second match as a doubles team.

Fast forward seven months and the two teams were back on opposite sides of the court trying to help their respective squads reach the NCAC Tournament finals.  In a tightly contested match between regionally-ranked foes, the Denison duo avenged their previous loss with an 8-6 victory over Sheldon and Porter.

Sophomore Meg Chiumento extended DU's lead to 3-1 with a 6-4, 6-0 decision over Johnson. Sheldon, ranked third in the central region, improved to 2-0 in singles play against Geppner, ranked sixth, after recording a 6-2, 6-1 decision.

Denison got back in the win column when Hawkins cruised past Porter with matching 6-1 scores at second singles.  Hawkins picked up her team-best 16th victory, improving to 9-4 at the second flight. The match-clinching point came at sixth singles when sophomore Sarah Torrence defeated Hay in straight sets (6-3, 6-2). The win was Torrence's team-leading seventh straight and her 11th singles victory of the season.