Women’s Tennis Defeats Johns Hopkins in NCAA Quarterfinal

(L-R:) Skylar Schossberger and Katherine Hughes started the Panther scoring with an 8-2 victory Monday at No. 1 doubles.
(L-R:) Skylar Schossberger and Katherine Hughes started the Panther scoring with an 8-2 victory Monday at No. 1 doubles.

Middlebury advanced to the NCAA Women's Tennis Semifinals for the second-straight year and third time in program history (2005, 2016, 2017) with a 5-1 win over 14th-ranked Johns Hopkins in a quarterfinal match that started at the Champions Club Tennis Complex at Rivermont Park and finished indoors at the McCallie School in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The second-ranked Panthers, who set a single-season program record with 17 victories (17-4), will play No. 4 Williams, who defeated No. 9 Chicago 5-3, on Tuesday at 2:00 p.m. in the NCAA Semifinals. The Blue Jays finish the season at 19-6.

Middlebury jumped out to a 2-1 advantage after doubles play on Monday. The top pair of Katherine Hughes and Skylar Schossberger grabbed the first point via an 8-2 victory over Mikey Barthelmass and Ashnaa Rao. The No. 3 team of Alexandra Fields and Christina Puccinelli doubled the Panther advantage with an 8-3 win against Sophia Strickland and Kimberly Zou. Tied at 3-3, the No. 2 Johns Hopkins' team of Caroline Greydak and Jody Law won four-straight games en route to an 8-4 victory over Middlebury's Kaysee Orozco and Catherine Blazye.

In singles action, Blazye put the Panthers ahead by a 3-1 score with a 7-6 (4), 6-0 victory over Strickland in the third spot. Minutes later, Maddi Stow won the final two games of each set at No. 6 for a 7-5, 6-3 victory over Chrissy Simon. Heather Boehm clinched the match with a 6-4, 6-1 win at No. 4 against Greydak.

In the other two matches that went unfinished, Rao won the opening set at No. 1 by a 7-6 (4) tally, but Fields led 3-2 in the second set. Law and Puccinelli split the first two sets with Law winning set one 6-4 and Puccinelli claiming the second 6-3 before the Panther won the opening game in the third. At No. 5, Zou grabbed the first set (7-5) and led 3-2 in the second against Molly Paradies.

Monday's national quarterfinal match between Middlebury and Johns Hopkins marked 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.

Tuesday's NCAA Semifinal contest between the Panthers and Ephs is the 55th all-time meeting between the two schools and the fourth in the NCAA Tournament. Williams has won all three previous matches, including a 5-0 win in the regional round in 2005, a narrow 5-4 decision a year later in the regional round and a 5-1 victory in 2009.