The ninth-ranked Middlebury women's tennis team split four matches last week to finish its trip to California. On Monday, the Panthers mounted a comeback attempt in singles before falling by a narrow 5-4 score to Division II Asuza Pacific at the Munson and Bavougian Tennis Complex. In a battle of top-10 teams on Thursday, Middlebury tallied a 7-2 victory over #5 Pomona-Pitzer at the Pauley Tennis Complex. A day later, the Panthers fell by an 8-1 score to #2 Claremont-Mudd-Scripps in a contest played at the Biszantz Family Tennis Center. Middlebury concluded its trip with a convincing 9-0 victory over Gustavus Adolphus on Saturday.
Against Asuza Pacific, the Cougars raced out to a 3-0 lead after sweeping the doubles matches. Valeriia Kashina and Jackie Resler started things with an 8-2 win at No. 2 over senior Alexandra Fields (Coral Gables, Fla.) and rookie Skylar Schossberger (Eagle, Idaho). Natalie Johnson and Lisa Schneider gave the hosts a 2-0 advantage with an 8-5 victory in the top spot against rookie Katherine Hughes (Haddonfield, N.J.) and sophomore Christina Puccinelli (New York, N.Y.), while Kara Hinton and Tatiana Betancourt completed the sweep via an 8-5 win at No. 3 over rookie Maddi Stow (Wilton, Conn.) and sophomore Molly Paradies (Atlanta, Ga.).
In singles, the Panthers claimed the first three matches to finish, tying the score at 3-3. Schossberger posted a 6-2, 6-4 victory at No. 6 over Betancourt, Paradies prevailed 6-2, 6-4 in the fourth spot over Hinton, while rookie Heather Boehm (Miami, Fla.) tallied a 7-5, 7-5 triumph at No. 3 over Kashina.
The Cougars clinched the match with a pair of victories at the top of the lineup. Schneider defeated Puccinelli by scores of 7-6 (4), 6-2 at No. 2, while Johnson edged Fields in the top spot 7-5, 6-4.
The Panthers posted the final point when Hughes and Resler split the first two sets, but Resler retired in the third set with Hughes ahead 4-3 (3-6, 6-2, 4-3).
In Thursday’s match at Pomona-Pitzer, the visitors jumped out to a 2-1 lead after doubles play. Senior Kaysee Orozco (New Milford, N.J.) and rookie Catherine Blazye (London, England) started things with an 8-2 win at No. 2 over Caroline Casper and Arianna Chen. The Sagehens (10-4) knotted the score at 1-1 following an 8-4 victory from Maryann Zhao and Emily Chen in the top spot against Hughes and Puccinelli. The Panthers gained the momentum entering singles play via a 9-7 triumph at No. 3 by Fields and Stow against Grace Hruska and Joy Kim.
In singles, the Panthers claimed five of the six points, including four of those victories coming in straight sets. Hughes made it a 3-1 match with a 6-3, 6-4 victory at No. 6 over Hruska. Casper pulled Pomona-Pitzer to within one with a 7-5, 6-3 win against Puccinelli in the top slot.
Middlebury closed the match winning the last four matches to finish. Boehm cruised over Mae Coyiuto at No. 3 (6-1, 6-3), Fields clinched the match when she defeated Zhao in the second spot (6-2, 7-5), while Blazye edged Arianna Chen at No. 4 (7-5, 6-4).
The Panthers posted the final point when Paradies and Kim split the first two sets, before Paradies battled back from a 5-2 deficit in the decisive set (3-6, 6-1, 7-5) for the final 7-2 score.
On Friday at CMS, the Athenas remained undefeated at 15-0 when they grabbed all three points during doubles play, each coming by 8-4 scores. The No. 3 team of Kyla Scott and Madison Shea were the first off the court with a victory over Fields and Stow. In the second flight, Catherine Allen and Katie Kuosman defeated Orozco and Blazye, while Lindsay Brown and Nicole Tan completed the sweep with a victory against Hughes and Puccinelli at the top spot.
In singles action, Tan was the first to end her match with a 6-1, 6-3 win against Puccinelli in the top spot. Boehm earned the lone Panther point, cruising past Kuosman at No. 4 (6-3, 6-2).
Ana Bryan-Ajania clinched the match for CMS by scores of 6-2, 6-0 over Hughes at No. 6, while Allen was victorious via tallies of 6-3 and 6-4 against Fields at No. 2. The last two points for the Athenas were recorded by Brown over Paradies in the fifth spot (6-4, 6-1) and Jessie Cruz at #3 against Blazye (6-3, 5-7, 10-7) for the 8-1 final score.
In Saturday’s match against Gustavus Adolphus, Middlebury started things off notching all three points during doubles play. The No. 2 tandem of Fields and Stow posted an 8-1 victory over Briana Hartmann and Cal Carlson. The Panther team of Orozco and Blazye edged Michaela Schulz and Ally Baker by an 8-6 score at No. 1, while the No. 3 pair of Paradies and Schossberger claimed a 9-7 victory over Katie Aney and Lilly Hartman.
In singles, the Panthers dropped a combined 16 games during the six matches. Puccinelli breezed by Baker at No. 2 (6-0, 6-0), while Fields followed suit with a 6-0, 6-0 victory in the top spot over Schulz.
Hughes kept things rolling with the match-clinching point at #6 via a 6-2, 6-1 win against Hartman, while Boehm eased to a 6-1, 6-1 victory in the third spot against Hartmann. Schossberger was a 6-4, 6-1 winner over Carlson at No. 4, while Paradies completed the sweep with a 6-4, 6-2 triumph against Aney in the fifth flight.
• Women’s tennis record: 4-3
• Up Next: 4/8 vs. Williams – 2:00 p.m., 4/9 vs. Tufts – 2:00 p.m.