GREENCASTLE, Ind. (March 3) - Courtesy of the ITA - In yet another dramatic final at the ITA Division III National Women’s Team Indoor Championship, hosted by DePauw University in Greencastle, Ind., the fifth-seeded Johns Hopkins Blue Jays defeated No. 2 seed Carnegie Mellon 5-4 to take home the trophy. Johns Hopkins completed an impressive weekend in which it defeated host DePauw 6-3 and No. 1 seed Chicago 6-3 as well.
“Carnegie Mellon came out strong in doubles,” explained Johns Hopkins head coach Dave Woodring. “That was a tight match that went down to the wire. We play them at least twice a year, and the match always seems to be exciting. It was really nice to come through today because we have been on the other side of those matches a lot. I want to thank the ITA and DePauw for hosting a great event this weekend.”
Carnegie Mellon started the match off as it had all weekend, producing solid doubles play early. The Tartan tandem of Chelsea Motie and Bryn Raschke delivered another dominating victory, winning 8-2 at the second spot against Abby Clark and Shannon Herndon. Motie and Raschke wrapped up the weekend 3-0 in doubles play, not dropping more than three games to one opponent. The Blue Jays countered with a victory on court three, as Stephanie Rettig and Sydney Lehman won 8-3 against Abbey Hamstra and Brooke Tsu.
With the score tied at 1-1, Carnegie Mellon’s top doubles duo of Katie Cecil and Angela Pratt came through with an 8-5 triumph. Cecil and Pratt traded early breaks with Hailey Hogan and Elaine Baik, but claimed the lead for good after going up a break 4-3. Several of the games went to deuce the rest of the way, but the Tartans were able to close it out for the 2-1 overall lead.
As singles play got underway, it was Carnegie Mellon who took early leads on courts one and three, looking to seize complete control of the match. Motie continued her outstanding play at the second position, using her big serve and huge forehand to get on top of the rallies and come up with winner after winner. She was simply too much for Baik, winning the match easily 6-1, 6-0. Johns Hopkins received a quick point of their own courtesy of Herndon at the third spot, as she cruised past Elizabeth Martin 6-1, 6-0.
It appeared the Tartans would get another straight sets win on court one from Cecil, who won the opening set against Hogan 6-2. Hogan’s game, as it had done all weekend to her opponents, began to give Cecil some problems in the second set. Cecil made a few loose errors to fall behind a break in the second at 0-2. That started off three consecutive breaks of serve before Hogan held for 4-1. Cecil would rally to get within 5-4, but a beautifully executed backhand drop shot on set point gave Hogan the second set. Cecil was frustrated but determined in the final set, measuring her shots with more accuracy and pushing Hogan around the court. Cecil took the third by a score of 6-3 to push her team out in front 4-2.
The comeback started fast for Johns Hopkins, with the Blue Jays needing the last three matches on court in order to win the title. Lehman, who had been clutch all tournament for Hopkins, came through against Pratt at the fourth spot. Both players struggled to hold serve in the first set despite possessing big serves, but Lehman managed to take it 6-3. She raced out to a 4-1 lead in the second and closed out the win with a 6-2 triumph in the second.
With the momentum clearly on the side of the Blue Jays at that point, the players at spots five and six for Hopkins produced winning tennis. Clark toughed out a close first set on court five against Tsu, winning the opening set 6-4 on a Tsu double fault. The second set remained tight until Clark broke for a 4-2 lead as part of winning that last four games of the match for a 6-4, 6-2 victory. Click here