Panther Women Make Fifth-Straight NCAA Quarterfinal Appearance

Panther Women Make Fifth-Straight NCAA Quarterfinal Appearance


The Middlebury women's tennis team will make its fifth-consecutive NCAA Quarterfinal appearance and sixth in the last seven years when it plays Amherst on Monday, May 20. Matches will take place at Stowe Stadium in Kalamazoo, Michigan. The event is hosted by Kalamazoo College. The Panthers are making their 16th tournament appearance in the last 17 years.

Third-ranked Middlebury enters the quarterfinals with a record of 18-2, setting the single-season record for wins. The Panthers have faced 13 teams ranked in the top 25 among its 20 opponents, including 11 matches against top-10 teams. Middlebury started the spring ranked No. 6 in the ITA National Poll and moved up one spot at the end of March, before vaulting into the third spot for each of the last two polls. The Panthers have reeled off 10-match and six-match winning streaks this spring, including four 9-0 decisions, a 5-2 victory at Division II Cal State LA on March 24 and a 6-3 home triumph on April 7 over top-ranked Emory, handing the Eagles their lone loss to a Division III team this season.

While hosting the NESCAC Tournament, the top-seeded Panthers posted a 5-0 win over fourth-seeded and sixth-ranked Amherst in the semifinals. A day later, second-seeded and fourth-ranked Wesleyan ended Middlebury's 10-match winning streak with a 5-2 victory in the NESCAC Championship final.

As the top seed in last weekend's home NCAA Regional, the Panthers received a bye into the second round where they faced Moravian. Middlebury eased to a 5-0 victory over the Greyhounds, advancing to Sunday's final against ninth-ranked Tufts where the Panthers posted a 5-0 triumph over the Jumbos. Middlebury enters the weekend with a 26-16 record during NCAA Tournament play. The Panthers advanced to the semifinals in 2005, 2016, 2017 and 2018, as well as the quarterfinals in 2007 and 2015.

Led by second-year head coach Rachel Kahan, a mix of youthful experience and seasoned veterans make up the Panther singles lineup going into the NCAA Quarterfinal.

Junior Heather Boehm (Miami, Fla.) will anchor the top spot for the Panthers. The 2019 NESCAC Player of the Year is a three-time All-NESCAC selection, including two first-team accolades. She enters into the quarterfinals with 15 wins (15-1), with her lone loss coming to the defending ITA Northeast Regional champion. Boehm recorded a 13-match winning streak this spring, going 8-1 at No. 1 and 7-0 at No. 2. The 2018 All-American is the top-ranked player in the ITA Northeast Region. Through her first three years, Boehm has had winning streaks of 26 and 13 and has amassed a 66-9 record as an individual.

The No. 2 flight has been primarily held by junior Katherine Hughes (Haddonfield, N.J.)  A two-time All-NESCAC selection in singles and both a 2017 All-American in doubles and a 2018 All-American as an individual, she has a 12-6 overall record this spring. She has amassed identical 6-3 marks in the top-two spots of the lineup. Hughes is currently ranked as the No. 7 player in the northeast region.

Senior Christina Puccinelli (New York, N.Y.) will play No. 3 for the Middlebury women. The two-time All-NESCAC honoree heads into the quarterfinals with a team-high 20 wins (20-3), including a 13-2 mark at No. 3 singles. The 2017 All-American goes into the NCAA Quarterfinal picking up wins in 10 of her last 11 matches. Puccinelli has an impressive 68-23 record during her career individually as a Panther, entering Monday's play ranked eighth in the northeast region.

Junior Skylar Schossberger (Eagle, Idaho) takes to the court at No. 4 with an 11-6 record. She is 8-4 in the fourth position this spring and goes into the quarterfinals with a 41-20 career record.

Classmate Maddi Stow (Wilton, Conn.) will play No. 5 for the Panthers, splitting time between the fourth and fifth spots this spring. She has tallied a 12-5 overall record, including a perfect 8-0 mark during NESCAC action. Stow has tallied a 38-12 record individually during her three seasons.

Sophomore Emily Bian (Austin, Texas) solidifies the No. 6 spot with an 11-10 record this year, going 8-4 at the bottom of the lineup.

In doubles, Boehm and sophomore Ann Martin Skelly (Charleston, S.C.) have been paired together all spring. The 2019 First-Team All-NESCAC selections are the region's third-ranked duo and have posted a 16-2 record, including 11-1 in the top position. The pair has won eight-consecutive matches entering Monday's action.

Hughes and Schossberger moved to the No. 2 position near the midway point of the spring and have won a team-best 17 matches (17-2) as a pair. The 2017 All-Americans and two-time All-NESCAC Second-Team honorees are the region's sixth-ranked duo riding a 12-match winning streak. Hughes and Schossberger have posted a 46-22 career record together over their three years together.

Puccinelli and Stow have played together at No. 3 in the Panther doubles lineup. The tandem recorded a 9-3 mark this season, including two points in the regional.

Amherst comes into quarterfinal action with a 14-5 record, a No. 6 national ranking and winning their regional matches by a 5-0 score over The College of New Jersey and Johns Hopkins.

Monday's national quarterfinal match between Middlebury and Amherst marks the third meeting between the programs this spring and the 49th overall. The teams met on April 27 during NESCAC play in Vermont, with Middlebury posting a 9-0 decision. A few weeks later during the NESCAC Tournament Semifinal, the Panthers recorded a 5-0 triumph. The two programs met in the 2016 NCAA Quarterfinals in Michigan, with Middlebury recording a 5-2 victory.

The Panther women will also have five players compete in the NCAA Division III Singles and Doubles Tournament that will take place May 24 through May 26 at the same complex. Boehm, Hughes and Puccinelli will be three of 32 individuals vying for the singles crown, while Boehm and Skelly along with Hughes and Schossberger will battle 14 other pairs for the doubles title.

2019 NCAA Women's Tennis Tournament
Kalamazoo, Michigan - Stowe Stadium
Quarterfinals – Monday, May 20
No. 1 Emory (19-3) vs. No. 12 Chicago (16-5) – 8:30 a.m.
No. 4 Wesleyan (17-2) vs. No. 19 MIT (18-3) – 8:30 a.m.
No. 3 Middlebury (18-2) vs. No. 6 Amherst (16-5) -11:00 a.m.
No. 2 Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (25-1) vs. No. 11 Carnegie Mellon (19-7) – 11:00 a.m.

Semifinals – Tuesday, May 21
Stowe Stadium
Wesleyan/MIT winner vs. Emory/Chicago winner – 8:30 a.m.
Middlebury/Amherst winner vs. Claremont-Mudd-Scripps/Carnegie Mellon winner -11:00 a.m.

Wednesday, May 22
Stowe Stadium
Championship Match – 10:00 a.m.

**Rankings by the ITA**