Panther Women Fall to Williams in NESCAC Championship

The Panthers pose with the NESCAC Tournament runner-up trophy. (photo courtesy of Kris Dufour)
The Panthers pose with the NESCAC Tournament runner-up trophy. (photo courtesy of Kris Dufour)

The top-seeded Middlebury women's tennis team fell in the NESCAC Championship by a 5-2 score to second-seeded Williams in a match played at the Lansing Chapman Rink hosted by the Ephs. The second-ranked Panthers, who advanced to the final for the second-straight year, see a 10-match win streak snapped and fall to 14-4. Williams (15-4) claims the league's automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament, while the Panthers are expected to receive at-large berth when the field is announced on Monday.

The hosts took two of the three doubles matches against the Panthers. Linda Shin and Juli Raventos put the Ephs on the scoreboard with an 8-4 win at No. 1 over Skylar Schossberger and Katherine Hughes. Williams doubled its lead after Hannah Atkinson and Chloe Henderson posted an 8-4 victory over Middlebury's Kaysee Orozco and Catherine Blazye in the second slot. The No. 3 Middlebury tandem of Alexandra Fields and Christina Puccinelli put the Panthers on the board with an 8-4 triumph over Julia Cancio and Emily Zheng.

In singles play, Williams made it a 3-1 score after Atkinson topped Heather Boehm by scores of 6-0, 6-3 in the No. 3 spot. Shortly after that, Blazye brought the Panthers to within one via a 6-4, 6-2 victory over Shin in the fourth flight.

Cancio put Williams ahead by a 4-2 tally with a 6-4, 6-2 win at the bottom of the lineup over Maddi Stow, while the Ephs clinched the league title when Mia Gancayco recorded a 6-1, 6-4 victory in the fifth slot over Molly Paradies.

The top two flights never took the court. Williams' Raventos was set to play Fields in the top spot, while the Ephs' Leah Bush was slotted to play Puccinelli at No. 2.

Sunday's championship contest was a rematch of the 2016 NESCAC Tournament final in which the Ephs were victorious, 5-0.