MEDFORD, Mass. – The first-round bye did not serve as an impediment for the No. 6-ranked Tufts University women's tennis team, as the Jumbos cruised to a 5-0 sweep of Nichols College in the second round of the NCAA Division III Regional Tournament on Saturday at Voute Courts in Medford, Massachusetts.
|Otilia Popa clinched the match for the Jumbos at No. 5 singles.|
The Jumbos (15-6, 6-3 in NESCAC) improved to 18-15 in the tournament, dating back to the 2000-01 season, and will now compete in the regional final on Sunday at 1 p.m. against No. 14-ranked Johns Hopkins University (18-5, 10-0 in Centennial Conference). The forecast is projecting heavy rainfall in the Greater Boston area for Sunday, which would result in the regional-final match being played at the Bass River Tennis Club in Beverly, Massachusetts. If the storm misses the area, then the match will be held at Voute Courts.
Johns Hopkins University defeated No. 32-ranked The College of New Jersey (15-4, 6-0 in NJAC) in the second round on Saturday.
If the Jumbos win on Sunday, then the squad will advance to the quarterfinals of the NCAA Tournament for the second time in program history, which will be held on May 22 at the Champions Tennis Club in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
The Bison (17-4, 8-0 in Commonwealth Coast Conference), who were competing on the national stage for the first time since 2011, see their season come to a conclusion, as the squad downed Ithaca College, 5-3, in first-round action Friday at the Bass River Tennis Club.
Sophomore Otilia Popa recorded a match-clinching effort during No. 5 singles on Saturday for the Jumbos, defeating freshman Lindsey Kaplan, 6-1, 6-1.
Popa and sophomore Tomo Iwasaki led off with an impressive performance during the No. 2 doubles flight, besting junior Alanna Judd and freshman Isabelle Leonardi, 8-2. Popa is now 14-7 in doubles during the spring 2017 season and Iwasaki boasts a mark of 12-7.
The Jumbos turned to a group of experienced collegiate tennis players at the third slot, as senior captain Alexa Meltzer and senior Jacqueline Baum collected an 8-4 win over senior captain Cristina Szepanski and Kaplan.
The Jumbos took a commanding 3-0 advantage on an 8-6 victory at the top slot, as fans were treated to an entertaining back-and-forth brand of tennis. Freshman Katherine Wiley and junior Lauren Louks were the last ones standing, as the women defeated freshman Amarie Settiwongse and junior Ashley Dallaire.
Iwasaki extended the Jumbos' lead to 4-0 on the individual side at the second slot, outdoing freshman Megan Nathanson in straight sets, 6-0, 6-0.
Written by Trevor Wenners, Athletic Communications Intern