The Middlebury women's tennis team saw its run in the NCAA Tournament draw to a close, as second-ranked Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (27-1) posted a 5-2 victory in the semifinals Tuesday at Stowe Stadium in Kalamazoo, Michigan. The third-ranked Panthers cap their season at 19-3, while advancing to the semifinals for the fourth-straight year and setting a single-season mark for victories.
The Athenas captured the first point of the match when Catherine Allen and Caroline Cox secured an 8-5 triumph at the top of the ladder in doubles against Heather Boehm and Ann Martin Skelly. In the second slot, Middlebury's Katherine Hughes and Skylar Schossberger were tied three times early in the match, but the CMS duo of Sarah Bahsoun and Nicole Tan held on for an 8-7 (5) victory. The Panther tandem of Christina Puccinelli and Maddi Stow raced out to a 4-0 lead at #3, before holding off a late charge from Sydney Lee and Madison Shea, claiming an 8-7 (9) win. The Athenas held a 2-1 edge at the end of doubles play.
CMS bumped its lead to 3-1 with Allen's 6-1, 6-0 decision over Boehm at first singles, while Hughes quickly responded for Middlebury from the #2 spot, topping Tan in straight sets 6-0, 6-2 to make it a 3-2 match. The Athenas extended the lead to 4-2, as Lee posted a 6-3, 6-2 triumph over Schossberger in the fourth position, while Cox clinched the match for CMS at #5, collecting a 6-3, 6-2 win against Stow.
In the other matches that went unfinished, Puccinelli was leading Rebecca Berger 6-1, 5-4 at third singles, while Bahsoun held a 7-5, 5-1 advantage over Emily Bian in the sixth slot.
This was the ninth all-time meeting and first in the postseason between Middlebury and CMS, with the Athenas winning seven of those matches. CMS topped the Panthers 8-1 earlier in the season in California on the team's spring trip.
The Panther women will 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.