KALAMAZOO, Mich. - Junior Catherine Allen won three matches in three different venues to advance to the NCAA Division III Quarterfinals in both singles and doubles, while both CMS doubles teams won their first matches to advance through to Saturday's quarterfinals, on the first day of the NCAA Division III Women's Tennis Championships.
With rain adjusting the schedule on the fly in the morning and again in the afternoon, Allen won her opening round singles match at Kalamazoo College's Markin Center (indoor courts), then won her Round of 16 match at the West Hills Athletic Club (indoor courts) in three sets, before returning to Kalamazoo College to team with Caroline Cox for an opening round doubles win at Stowe Stadium (outdoor courts).
Junior Nicole Tan and freshman Sarah Bahsoun, who were the first alternate doubles team when the NCAA announced their selections but got in by virtue of another team being forced to withdraw, also won their first doubles match to earn All-America honors by advancing to the quarterfinals.
The day began indoors at the Markin Center, with the Athenas having three entrants of the 32 in the NCAA Singles Championship, Allen, Tan and sophomore Rebecca Berger. Allen faced Kristina Yu of Wesleyan, after defeating her older sister Victoria Yu at No. 1 in the national championship match on Wednesday, which the Cardinals won 5-4, and Allen was able to pick up a 6-3, 6-3 win to advance to the round of 16.
WTEN: That's a match! Catherine Allen joins Rebecca Berger in the round of 16 with a 6-3, 6-3 win. Here's match point with a great defensive return of serve and a lob on the baseline to set up the winner. pic.twitter.com/EBFrise5ak— CMS Athletics (@AthleticsCMS) May 24, 2019
Berger dropped the first set of her match to Leah Bush of Williams, the tournament's No. 8 seed, but she bounced back to dominate the next two sets to come back for a 3-6, 6-2, 6-1 win which moved her into the Round of 16 and earned her All-America honors in singles. Tan, meanwhile, came out firing in her match against Danna Taylor of Carnegie Mellon, jumping out to a 5-0 lead. She held on to win the first set 6-2, but Taylor was able to respond and take a three-set win (2-6, 6-1, 6-3) to advance.
The Round of 16 went outdoors to Stowe Stadium before the day's second rainstorm forced the matches back inside, just after Berger had started her match and while Allen was still warming up. A half-hour later, the players re-warmed up at West Hills Athletic Club and got going again, with Berger facing Camille Smukler of Amherst and Allen matching up with Madeliene Paolucci of Case Western. Berger and Smukler had a lengthy first set before Smukler prevailed 6-3, while Allen cruised to a 6-1 win in her match.
History repeated itself in Berger's match, as another lengthy second set also went Smukler's way as she advanced to the quarterfinals with a 6-3, 6-3 win. Allen's second set was much different, though, as Paolucci found her rhythm and took a 6-4 win to earn a split. The third set was level at 4-4 when Allen came up with a key break of serve to earn a 5-4 lead, and after the changeover, she finished out the win by holding serve at love to move on to Saturday's quarterfinals with a 6-1, 4-6, 6-4 win.
Allen still had more work to do, though, as she headed back to Stowe Stadium for her opening round doubles match with Cox, and this time the weather cooperated. The Athena duo appeared headed for a quick win, up 6-3, 5-2, but Mary Washington's team of Lauren Quinn and Rachel Summers did not cooperate, battling back to level up the second set at 5-5. Cox and Allen withstood the rally, though, and closed out the final two games for a 6-3, 7-5 win to advance through to tomorrow's quarterfinals.
Tan and Bahsoun, who weren't sure if they would have the opportunity to play when selections were announced, took advantage of the renewed life by earning a straight-set win over Risa Fukushige and Renee Karchere-Sun of Skidmore, taking a close first set 6-4 and then controlling the second set 6-2. The win guaranteed the duo All-America honors, the fourth of Tan's career and the first for Bahsoun.
WTEN Dubs: That's a match! Nicole Tan with the winner down the line as she and Sarah Bahsoun take their first-round match 6-4, 6-2. They move on to tomorrow's quarterfinals. pic.twitter.com/RmJ4yzB8Mf— CMS Athletics (@AthleticsCMS) May 24, 2019
Allen will advance to the quarterfinals to meet Marjorie Antohi of Chicago, who won her Round of 16 match 6-3, 6-1 over Summers of Mary Washington, at 9 a.m. on Saturday. The two will face each other for the third time this season, with Allen winning 7-6, 6-0 at the ITA Indoor National semifinals, and 6-2, 6-0 in a home match at Bisznatz Family Tennis Center.
The Allen-Antohi winner will move on to the NCAA semifinals at 1 p.m. against the winner between Venia Yeung of Wesleyan and Caroline Casper of Pomona-Pitzer. Should Allen advance, she will either have another Sixth Street Rivalry with Casper (the only player to defeat her in singles this season, before Allen turned the tables in the SCIAC Championship), or another matchup with a Wesleyan player for the third time in four days.
In doubles, Allen and Cox will advance to the quarterfinals to face Erika Oku and Maggie Sweeney of Kenyon, who won in three sets in their opening round match, while Tan and Bahsoun will face Victoria and Kristina Yu of Wesleyan. The two teams did not face each other in the national championship match, as Tan and Bahsoun played at No. 2 for the Athenas, while the Yu sisters played at No. 1 for the Cardinals.