Cox, Allen End Year Ranked No. 1 in Doubles by ITA, Tan and Bahsoun Finish Ranked Second

Caroline Cox and Catherine Allen (right) face Nicole Tan and Sarah Bahsoun (left) in the NCAA Doubles Championship
Caroline Cox and Catherine Allen (right) face Nicole Tan and Sarah Bahsoun (left) in the NCAA Doubles Championship

CLAREMONT, Calif. - After winning the doubles national title at the NCAA Division III Individual Championships, junior Catherine Allen and sophomore Caroline Cox finished the 2018-19 year ranked No. 1 in the nation in doubles by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association, while junior Nicole Tan and freshman Sarah Bahsoun were ranked second, the organization announced today.

Allen was also ranked No. 2 in singles after compiling a 23-3 singles record, including 16-1 in duals, and reaching the semifinals of the NCAA Division III Championships. Sophomore Rebecca Berger was ranked No. 17 after earning All-America honors by winning her first round match and reaching the Round of 16, while Tan was also ranked nationally in singles, holding down the No. 40 spot. 

Allen and Cox defeated Tan and Bahsoun in the finals of the NCAA Doubles Championship, coming back to win in three sets after dropping the first set in a tiebreaker. It was the first time that the same program had both NCAA Doubles finalists since 2005, when two teams from Gustavus Adolphus met in the finals. It marked the first time that the Athenas have captured the NCAA Doubles title, after several runner-up finishes during the last decade. 

For Cox and Allen, the final ranking also represents a wire-to-wire hold on the No. 1 position during the entire 2018-19 season, after taking over the top spot in the fall following their championship at the ITA Cup in Rome, Georgia in October. The duo was undefeated in the regular season against Division III competition, suffering their only loss to Division II UC San Diego in February, and ended the 2018-19 season with a 32-3 record when playing together. 

Bahsoun and Tan, meanwhile, ended the season with a 24-5 record when playing together, and advanced to the NCAA Doubles Championship match after originally being an alternate in the 16-team field. When one of the other teams withdrew, Tan and Bahsoun earned their ticket to the field and ended up defeating the No. 1 teams from Skidmore, Wesleyan and Middlebury on their way to the All-CMS final.

Allen's No. 2 ranking in singles marks the highest final ranking for an Athena since Kristin Lim was No. 1 after winning the singles championship in 2011 (Lim also finished ranked No. 2 in 2013). Prior to her semifinal defeat in the NCAA Championships to Venia Yeung of Wesleyan, her only two defeats all season were to Caroline Casper of Pomona-Pitzer, in the ITA West Regional championship match in the fall and in the regular season on April 23. Allen bounced back to defeat Casper 6-2, 6-2 in the SCIAC Championship and took the first set from her 6-0 in the NCAA Regionals, before the match was left unfinished at 6-5 in the second set. 

Berger ended the year 18-2 in singles and undefeated in dual matches at 15-0. Her only regular season loss was in the championship of the A Flight at the CMS Fall Scramble in September, falling to Ghazal Pakbaten of Division II Concordia Irvine. She came back to win in three sets in the opening round of the NCAA Singles Championship against Leah Bush of Williams (3-6, 6-2, 6-1), earning her All-America honors. 

CMS finished with the No. 2 ranking in the final team poll as well, behind only Wesleyan, which edged the Athenas 5-4 in the national championship match, leaving CMS one step shy of repeating as national champions after winning the program's first title in 2018.