SOUTH HADLEY, MA – The Bowdoin College women's tennis team pulled off the biggest win in program history Sunday afternoon at Mount Holyoke College, as the Polar Bears earned a 5-4 victory over Amherst College to advance to the national quarterfinals for the first time ever. Bowdoin improves to 14-7 on the year, while the Lord Jeffs end their impressive season at 16-2.
Bowdoin's top doubles pair of Kristen Raymond (Dover, MA) and Sarah D'Elia (Fairfield, CT) fell into an early 5-2 hole against Amherst's Brittany Berckes (Secaucus, NJ) and Alicia Menezes (Staten Island, NY) but was able to storm back to take six of the next seven games for the 8-6 victory. Berckes and Menezes had defeated Raymond and D'Elia during the regular season, 9-7.
The Polar Bears' second team point of the day came in the No. 3 doubles match, as Liz Pedowitz (Briarcliff, NY) and Kaitlin Raymond (Dover, MA) earned their second 8-6 win over Amherst's Laura Stein (Rockport, ME) and Jennifer Murphy (Simsbury, CT) of the season.
The Lord Jeffs salvaged one point in doubles play, as Jill Wexler (Beverly, MA) and Natasha Brown (Woodland Hills, CA) teamed up in the No. 2 match to earn an 8-5 victory. Bowdoin's Rachel Waldman (Pittsford, NY) and Brett Davis (Larchmont, NY) held an early 2-1 advantage, but Amherst managed to pull away for a crucial team point.
First-years Laken King (Laurelton, NY) and Brown gave Amherst a 3-2 lead by cruising to victories in the No. 5 and No. 6 matches, respectively, with King earning a 6-0, 6-3 win over Waldman and Brown winning 6-1, 6-1 against Pedowitz.
D'Elia and Davis pulled off big wins in the No. 2 and No. 4 matches, respectively, to hand the lead back to the Polar Bears. After Wexler took the first set, 7-5, D'Elia stormed back to win consecutive 6-3 sets to notch the teams up at 3-3. Amherst's Monica Snyder (Newton, MA) gave Davis a great match in the No. 4 spot, but Davis edged out a 7-5, 7-6 (7-1) victory to give her team the lead.
The Raymond sisters were the only two Polar Bears remaining, as they played on courts side-by-side one another against Menezes and Berckes. Menezes dropped the first set to Kaitlin Raymond in the No. 3 match but played exceptionally the rest of the way, coming back to win consecutive sets by a 6-3 margin. Menezes' final point came just seconds after Berckes tied her third set at 6-6, as the players and fans moved in for a better view of the showdown between the teams' two top players.
It was no surprise that the No. 1 match lasted as long as it did, as Berckes earned a 6-3, 7-6 (15-13) win over her Bowdoin counterpart during the regular season. It would be Kristen Raymond who came out on top this time around, however, clinching the team's victory with a 7-6 (7-2), 2-6, 7-6 (7-4) win in what was an incredibly tense and well-played match.
The Polar Bears advance the quarterfinal round of the NCAA Championship, with the final three rounds of competition set to take place May 13-15 at Gustavus Adolphus College in Saint Peter, MN. While this is the first time Bowdoin has advanced to the quarterfinal round, it also marks the first time since 1997 that Amherst will not be among the eight remaining teams in the national tournament.
BOWDOIN DEF. AMHERST, 5-4, @ MOUNT HOLYOKE COLLEGE – NCAA THIRD ROUND
1. Kristen Raymond/Sarah D'Elia (B) def. Alicia Menezes/Brittany Berckes (A), 8-6 [Finished 1st]
2. Natasha Brown/Jill Wexler (A) def. Brett Davis/Rachel Waldman (B), 8-5 [Finished 3rd]
3. Liz Pedowitz/Kaitlin Raymond (B) def. Jennifer Murphy/Laura Stein (A), 8-6 [Finished 2nd]
1. Kristen Raymond (B) def. Brittany Berckes (A) 7-6 (7-2), 2-6, 7-6 (7-4) [Finished 6th]
2. Sarah D'Elia (B) def. Jill Wexler (A) 5-7, 6-3, 6-3 [Finished 3rd]
3. Alicia Menezes (A) def. Kaitlin Raymond (B) 4-6, 6-3, 6-3 [Finished 5th]
4. Brett Davis (B) def. Monica Snyder (A) 7-5, 7-6 (7-1) [Finished 4th]
5. Laken king (A) def. Rachel Waldman (B) 6-0, 6-3 [Finished 1st]
6. Natasha Brown (A) def. Liz Pedowitz (B) 6-1, 6-1 [Finished 2nd]