Women’s Tennis Makes Third-Straight NCAA Quarterfinal Appearance

Women’s Tennis Makes Third-Straight NCAA Quarterfinal Appearance


The Middlebury women's tennis team will make its third-consecutive NCAA Quarterfinal appearance and fourth in the last five years when it plays Johns Hopkins on Monday, May 22. Matches will take place at the Champions Club Tennis Complex at Rivermont Park in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The event is hosted by both the University of the South and the Chattanooga Sports Commission.The Panthers are making their 13th tournament appearance in the last 14 years.

Middlebury enters the quarterfinal with a record of 16-4, having played an extremely tough schedule this season. The Panthers have faced 13 teams ranked in the top 25 among its 20 opponents, including eight matches against top-eight teams. Middlebury earned its highest national ranking in the program's history this season at No. 2 in the April 29 ITA National Poll. The Panthers reeled off 11-consecutive wins this spring from late March through early May, including seven 9-0 decisions and a 6-3 home victory over No. 3 Williams on April 8.

The Panthers posted a 5-2 win over fifth-seeded and eighth-ranked Bowdoin in the NESCAC Semifinals. A day later, the second-seeded and fourth-ranked Ephs ended Middlebury's 11-match winning streak with a 5-2 victory in the NESCAC Championship final at Williams.

As the top seed in last weekend's regional, the Panthers received a bye into the second round where they faced SUNY Geneseo. Middlebury eased to a 5-0 victory over the Knights, advancing to Sunday's final against Amherst. In the regional final, the Panthers posted a 5-0 triumph over the Mammoths.

Led by the 2017 NESCAC Coach of the Year Mike Morgan, who is in his 11th year, a mix of youthful experience and seasoned veterans make up the Panther singles lineup going into the NCAA Quarterfinal. In the top spot, senior Alexandra Fields (Coral Gables, Fla.) is a NESCAC two-time first-team and three-time overall singles honoree and the ITA Northeast Region's second-ranked player. She enters the weekend with a 17-7 mark against the opponent's top player. Fields is also a two-time All-American in singles.

The No. 2 spot has been primarily held by sophomore Christina Puccinelli (New York, N.Y.), who is ranked sixth regionally and a 2017 NESCAC second-team recipient. She heads into the quarterfinals tied for the team lead with 21 overall victories (21-5), including an 11-1 record at No. 2 singles during dual matches this spring. Puccinelli opened her spring season with a 2-3 record, but goes into Monday's match riding a 12-match winning streak. She scored the team's clinching point during the regional final on Sunday.

Rookie Catherine Blazye (London, England) will play No. 3 for the Panthers after playing the No. 4 slot for much of the season. She has tallied a 19-2 overall record, including a 14-1 mark this spring. The region's 22nd-ranked player earned a 6-0, 6-0 victory in the regional semifinal, and was ahead 6-0 and 5-1 playing match point for the team's fifth marker alongside Puccinelli in Sunday's final.

Classmate Heather Boehm (Miami, Fla.) is tied with Puccinelli for the team lead with 21 wins (21-4), including a 17-2 record this spring. A Second-Team All-NESCAC singles selection, she begins the NCAA Quarterfinal match as the region's 13th-ranked player and has won 15 of the last 16 decisions, including two points during in the regional.

Sophomore Molly Paradies (Atlanta, Ga.) will play at No. 5 with a 20-6 record in 2016-17 and 15-3 in dual matches. She has had winning streaks of six and nine matches this season.

Rookies Skylar Schossberger (Eagle, Idaho), Maddi Stow (Wilton, Conn.) and Katherine Hughes (Haddonfield, N.J.) have all time in the spring at No. 6 singles this season. Schossberg has a 10-5 record and 5-2 mark at No. 6, Stow is 7-2 overall and 4-1 at the bottom of the lineup, while Hughes has records of 11-8 overall and 3-1.

In doubles, Hughes and Schossberger were paired together for the latter portion of the spring at the top of the Panther lineup. The region's sixth-ranked duo recorded a 9-3 mark this season, including a pair of points during the regional.

Orozco and Blazye, a 2017 Second-Team All-NESCAC pair, has played together all spring in the No. 2 slot of the Panther doubles lineup. The region's eighth-ranked tandem recorded a 16-3 mark this season mainly at No. 2, including an 11-match winning streak before falling in the NESCAC Tournament final. Fields and Puccinelli will compete in the third spot with a 10-2 record.

Johns Hopkins comes in with a 19-5 record, a No. 14 national ranking and winning their regional matches by a 5-1 score over TCNJ and a 5-4 tally in a thrilling final against Tufts.

Monday's national quarterfinal match between Middlebury and Johns Hopkins will mark the second meeting between the programs. The teams met in last year's NCAA Regional final on the Proctor Tennis Courts, with the Panthers posting a 5-1 victory.

The Panther women will also have three players compete in the NCAA Division III Singles and Doubles Tournament that will take place May 25 through May 27 at the same two complex. Puccinelli will be one of 32 individuals vying for the singles crown, while Schossberger and Hughes will battle 15 other pairs for the doubles title.

2017 NCAA Women's Tennis Tournament
Chattanooga, Tennessee
Champions Club Tennis Complex at Rivermont Park
Quarterfinals – Monday, May 22
No. 1 Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (28-0) vs. No. 11 Washington-St. Louis (Mo.) (14-10)
No. 2 Middlebury (16-4) vs. No. 14 Johns Hopkins (19-5)
No. 3 Emory (15-5) vs. No. 8 Bowdoin (16-5)
No. 4 Williams (17-4) vs. No. 9 University of Chicago (18-4)

Semifinals – Tuesday, May 23
Champions Club Tennis Complex at Rivermont Park
Claremont-Mudd-Scripps/Washinton-St. Louis (Mo.) winner vs. Bowdoin/Emory winner
Middlebury/Johns Hopkins winner vs. Williams/University of Chicago winner

Wednesday, May 24
Champions Club Tennis Complex at Rivermont Park
Championship Match

**Rankings by the ITA**