MIDDLETOWN, Conn. – The No. 7 Wesleyan University women's tennis team returns to the NCAA Division III Team Championships for the second consecutive season and third time overall, and earned a first round bye. The Cardinals (11-4) will play the winner of No. 22 MIT (12-8) and Gwynedd Mercy (14-0) in the second round on Saturday, May 13 at 2:30 p.m. at the host site, Bowdoin College.
SCOUTING NO. 7 WESLEYAN (11-4):
- The Cardinals return to the NCAA Tournament for a second consecutive season, and look to build on last year's performance in which they reached the third round before falling to Little Three rival Amherst (5-2).
- Wesleyan opened its spring, dual-match schedule with three consecutive wins against top-30 teams – No. 12 Carnegie Mellon (6-3), No. 11 Washington (7-2), No. 29 Denison (9-0).
- On April 16, a day after falling to then-No. 7 Tufts (6-3), the Cardinals recovered nicely with a 5-4 win over then-No. 1 Emory for the biggest win in program history.
- The team is led by two-time defending national singles champion, junior Eudice Chong, who was recently named the NESCAC Player of the Year for the second time in her career. The two-time All-American is 18-1 overall this season in singles play and 18-1 in doubles action, and has once again qualified for the NCAA Singles Championship in both singles and doubles.
- She will be joined in the individual tournament by doubles partner, Victoria Yu '19. The sophomore has excelled in her second collegiate season and was named First Team All-NESCAC in doubles and Second Team All-NESCAC in singles. Wesleyan's No. 2 singles player, Yu owns a 12-3 dual-match record and a 16-4 overall mark. She is also 18-2 overall in doubles action this season, while posting a perfect 16-0 record alongside Chong.
- In the middle of the lineup, the Cardinals will look for more solid play from juniors Aashli Budhiraja and Nicole McCann who are 7-5 and 9-5 overall, respectively, while classmate Helen Klass-Warch has gone 4-1 in the No. 3 spot and Dasha Dubinsky '18 has gone 3-0 in No. 5 singles.
- In doubles play, Klass-Warch and McCann have excelled and own an 11-2 record together, playing from the No. 2 and No. 3 spots.
SCOUTING THE FIELD:
- In addition to the MIT versus Gwynedd Mercy match, scheduled for 3:30 p.m. Friday, the other first round matchup features Colby-Sawyer (16-5) against Bridgewater State (12-5). The winner will play the host school, No. 8 Bowdoin (14-5), in the second round on Saturday at 12 p.m.
- MIT sits at No. 22 in the most recent ITA rankings, and qualified for the NCAA Championship by winning the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) title, marking its seventh all-time appearance in the tournament. Wesleyan defeated MIT earlier in the season, 8-1 on April 8th.
- Gwynedd Mercy returns to the postseason after claiming its fourth consecutive CSAC Championship. The Griffins have not played a match since October 22nd, and are 1-7 all-time in seven NCAA Tournament appearances,
- Colby-Sawyer won the North Atlantic Conference (NAC)/North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) crossover championship to qualify for the tournament and is making its fifth-straight appearance in the postseason. The Chargers won their first-ever NCAA Championship match a year ago and are 1-5 all-time.
- Bridgewater State won the Little East Conference in October to qualify for the tournament, and returns for the fourth time in the past seven years and fifth time overall. The Bears are riding a five-match win streak.
- Bowdoin earned hosting duties and a first round bye with a 14-5 overall mark. Last weekend, they reached the NESCAC Semifinals before falling to top-seeded Middlebury (5-2). The Polar Bears are coming off their most successful NCAA Tournament run a year ago, in which they reached the semifinals for the first time. Wesleyan and Bowdoin recently met in the first round of the NESCAC Championship, with the Polar Bears coming away victorious (5-3).