April 27, 2014

Big Red finishes runner-up at NCAC Tourney

In a rematch of last year's championship match, the 26th-ranked Denison women's tennis suffered 6-0 setback to 11th-ranked DePauw on Sunday at the 2014 North Coast Athletic Conference Tournament. With the loss, the Big Red finished second at the conference tournament for the second-consecutive year.

The Tigers, who edged Denison 5-4 in the regular season one week ago, jumped out to a 3-0 advantage after sweeping doubles play. Julie Wittwer and Kaitlin Pickrel gave DePauw the early lead with an 8-1 win over Heather Abzug and Eleni Coleman at the third flight.  Meg Crowley and Claire Marshall doubled the Tiger lead with an 8-4 decision over Meg Chiumento and Sarah Torrence. Caroline Emhardt and Maggie MacPhail completed the sweep with an 8-5 decision over Kelsey Geppner and Taylor Hawkins.

The 3-0 decifict was a familiar situation for Head Coach Peter Burling and his Big Red squad.  On April 19 in Greencastle, DU entered singles play trailing DePauw 3-0.  The Big Red won four of the six flights in singles, but a three-set win at No. 6 clinched the win for the Tigers.

Heading into singles play in the championship match of the NCAC Tournament, the No. 11 team in the country didn't want a repeat of those events.  Emhardt and Wittwer clinched the Tigers' third-straight NCAC title with straight-set wins at fifth and sixth singles, respectively.  Because of regional-ranking implications, the top singles flight between Geppner and MacPhail was played out. After suffering a straight-set loss to Geppner in Greencastle, MacPhail evened the head-to-head meetings with a 7-5, 6-4 victory.

Denison competed the season with an 11-9 record, while DePauw will take an 18-4 mark into the NCAA Division III Championship Tournament.