CMS Women's Tennis Doubles Team Captures ITA Cup Title with Comeback Three-Set Win

CMS Women's Tennis Doubles Team Captures ITA Cup Title with Comeback Three-Set Win

ROME, Ga. – Junior Catherine Allen and sophomore Caroline Cox added another national title to their resumes as they came from behind to take a 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 win over Carnegie Mellon's Melissa Strome and Danna Taylor in the finals of the ITA Cup on Saturday morning at the Rome Tennis Center.

Allen and Cox were key parts of last year's NCAA Division III national title team for Claremont-Mudd-Scripps, each picking up singles wins in a 5-4 win over Emory last May at the Biszantz Tennis Center in Claremont.

In today's doubles championship, the teams split 6-4 wins in the first two sets, and the third set went back-and-forth. The Athenas took the early momentum with a 3-1 lead after a pair of service breaks, and the Tartans bounced back to win the next three games to pull ahead 4-3. After holding serve to tie it 4-4, CMS won a key point as Cox hit a cross-court forehand winner to set up a break point, and Allen converted an overhead to put CMS ahead 5-4.

After a changeover, CMS took a 40-15 lead on Carnegie Mellon's serve and had two chances to break and win the match. They only needed one, as Allen pinned the Tartans deep along the baseline, and Cox was able to pounce at the net and paint the ball along the right sideline with a volley for a 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 win.

A pivotal momentum change came in the second set with the score tied 4-4 and Carnegie Mellon serving. The lengthy game went through multiple deuces before the Athenas earned their fourth break point and took advantage. Allen put a sharp forehand in the corner that forced a defensive return, and then put away an overhead to give the Athenas the 5-4 lead. Cox then held serve for a 6-4 win to split the first two sets and give CMS the momentum heading into the third.

The first set saw Carnegie Mellon draw first blood with a break to go ahead 3-1, but CMS broke right back behind two Cox winners. Carnegie Mellon broke for a  5-3 lead, but Cox hit a key passing shot at 15-15 to help CMS break back to close the lead to 5-4. The Tartans, though, were able to earn another break for a 6-4 win by pinning Cox against the fence with a baseline lob.

CMS advanced through to the ITA Cup finals with a 6-3, 6-4 win over NYU in Thursday's quarterfinals and a 6-0, 7-6 win over Emory in the semifinals on Friday. Allen and Cox earned their way to Rome, Georgia two weeks ago with a 6-0, 6-3 win over Pomona-Pitzer in the ITA West Regional finals at Pomona-Pitzer's Pauley Courts, after taking the first three rounds 8-4, 8-1, and 8-2.

The ITA Cup concludes the fall season for the Athenas, who will next be in action in February when they begin defense of their 2017 NCAA Division III national title.