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No. 4 Women’s Tennis Prepares to Host NCAA Regional

No. 4 Women’s Tennis Prepares to Host NCAA Regional

MIDDLETOWN, Conn. – For the fourth-straight year, the No. 4 Wesleyan women's tennis team has advanced to the NCAA Division III Tournament, as the Cardinals earned an automatic bid with their first-ever NESCAC Championship victory on Sunday. Wesleyan will host the first three rounds of the tournament, for the first time in school history, and received a bye for round one. The Cardinals will face the winner of the Messiah/Rhode Island College matchup on Saturday.

>> NCAA Bracket // Regional Website <<

The Cardinals boast an impressive 15-2 overall record, while finishing the regular-season with an 8-1 conference mark. Wesleyan is riding a seven-match win streak heading into the NCAA Tournament.

Last season, Wesleyan made a deep run into the postseason, before eventually falling to Middlebury 5-2 in an NCAA Quarterfinal matchup. The Cardinals and the Panthers met earlier this year, as Middlebury came away with a 5-4 victory, but on Sunday, the Cardinals avenged their loss by snapping the Panthers 10-match win streak to claim the NESCAC title with a 5-2 victory. The Championship was the first-ever for Wesleyan and the Cardinals were the first team other than Amherst and Williams to come away with the title.

WESLEYAN DOUBLES:

  • Sisters Victoria Yu and Kristina Yu, currently ranked No. 5 in the Northeast, have consistently played in the #1 spot this year. Victoria, a three-time National Champion in doubles, picked up where she left off last year, but this time with a familiar face. The sister duo has been phenomenal in their first and only collegiate year playing together, recording a 22-6 overall mark.
  • Polina Kiseleva and Venia Yeung have played in the #2 spot for a majority of the season, and are currently ranked No. 9 in the Northeast. Kiseleva and Yeung boast a 17-4 overall record, with their only two conference losses coming against Middlebury duo Katherine Hughes and Skylar Schossberger.
  • Alissa Nakamoto and Alexis Almy round out the doubles for Wesleyan, and while it took a few matches for them to find their rhythm, they won seven-straight heading into the conference tournament. Despite dropping a close 8-6 loss to Bowdoin, the tandem bounced back and triumphed 8-5 over Middlebury to secure the first point for the Cardinals.

WESLEYAN SINGLES:

  • Senior Yu has played in the #1 spot in all 16 of her matches. She is currently ranked No. 3 in the Northeast and has had strong wins against several top-ranked players this season. 
  • Yeung, No. 6 in the Northeast, has been steady in the #2 spot and boasts a 7-2 overall record this spring. Last weekend, she clinched the historic conference championship, battling through three tight sets against Middlebury's Katherine Hughes.
  • First-year Yu has had a great rookie campaign, playing the majority of matches at #3. Yu has a 20-3 overall mark, and is riding a five-match win streak. At the NESCAC Championship match, she was the only Cardinal to complete her match in straight-sets to earn a point in Wesleyan's historic victory. 
  • Kiseleva, playing much of her time at #4, suffered a setback in her first match of the spring, but has not looked back, winning all 12 matches since, including giving Wesleyan its first lead of the day in the conference title match, coming from behind to win 2-6, 6-1, 6-4.
  • Almy has made an immediate impact during her rookie campaign, playing in the fifth spot several times this spring. She has won five-straight matches and played with a fire and intensity in the NESCAC Championship that exceeded all of her prior matches.
  • Nakamoto has had a great sophomore season, winning 10 and falling in just three this spring. She also brings a four-match win streak into the postseason, having won all of those matches in straight sets. In the conference tournament, both of her singles matches did not finish, but she was up in both when the decisions were clinched. 

MESSIAH AT A GLANCE:
Schedule / Roster / Stats

  • The Falcons enter the tournament by way of an automatic bid after claiming the MAC Commonwealth Championship for the third time in four years.
  • Messiah finished the regular season with an undefeated conference record of 6-0.
  • This is the team's third NCAA Tournament Appearance in four years.
  • Kaitlyn Russell leads the Falcons in the #1 spot and is paired up with Emily Wichert at the #1 doubles spot. Russell had a perfect 5-0 record in conference singles, while Wichert (#2 at singles) held a 4-1 conference mark. The tandem recorded a 5-3 overall mark in doubles.
  • Amanda Adams has primarily been at the #3 spot for Messiah, recording a perfect 5-0 MAC Commonwealth record. In doubles, she is joined with Rebekah Adams, while the sisters recorded a 6-0 mark in conference play.
  • Messiah will face Rhode Island College in the first round of the tournament.

RHODE ISLAND COLLEGE AT A GLANCE:
Schedule / Roster / Stats

  • The Anchorwomen earned an automatic bid to the tournament after earning the LEC Championship crown and will make their second NCAA Tournament appearance.
  • Rhode Island College finished the regular season with a perfect 17-0 mark and an untouched conference record of 9-0.
  • Serena Bobola leads the Anchorwomen, compiling a 15-0 overall mark, currently playing at #3 singles and #3 doubles.
  • Hailey Raskob, the 2018 Little East Championship's Most Outstanding Player, went 17-0 in the #2 singles spot and 17-0 in the #2 doubles spot with partner Grace Zangari.
  • Rhode Island College will take on Brandeis in the opening round of the tournament.

No. 8 BRANDEIS AT A GLANCE:
Schedule / Roster / Stats

  • The Judges received an at-large bid and will make their first appearance in the NCAA Tournament, having posted a 12-7 overall record.
  • Brandeis will take on Penn. State Abington in the first round, as the teams will meet for the first time.
  • Lauren Bertsch and Olivia Leavitt have played in the #1 spot for doubles all season, compiling a regular-season record of 15-7.
  • At the #1 spot for singles, Diana Dehterevich has battled several nationally-ranked opponents throughout the year. At #2 doubles, Dehterevich and Keren Khromchenko held an 11-5 regular-season mark.

PENN. STATE ABINGTON AT A GLANCE:
Schedule / Roster / Stats

  • The Nittany Lions earned an automatic bid after winning the North Eastern Athletic Conference Championship and will make their first appearance in the NCAA Tournament this weekend when they take on No. 8 Brandeis.
  • Stephanie Jin and Isabella Blackwell lead the team at #1 doubles with an overall record of 8-1, while Jin has been steady in the #1 singles position all season.

NO. 16 SKIDMORE AT A GLANCE:
Schedule / Roster

  • The Thoroughbreds won their ninth-straight Liberty League title, earning an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. Skidmore will make its 13th consecutive appearance in the tournament and their 23rd overall. The Thoroughbreds captured their lone National title in 1998.
  • Skidmore comes into the tournament with a 13-6 overall mark and an unblemished 8-0 conference record.
  • The Thoroughbreds will take on Brooklyn College in the first round.

BROOKLYN COLLEGE AT A GLANCE:
Schedule / Roster / Stats

  • The Bulldogs knew their NCAA Tournament fate back in October 2018, when they captured the CUNY Conference Championship with its first title.
  • Brooklyn will make its first-ever appearance in the tournament, boasting a 16-3 overall record, including a 6-0 conference mark.
  • For the second-straight season, Ievgeniia Kostenko finished with an 11-0 record to win the CUNY Conference Player of the Year for the second time. She was also a part of the 11-0 doubles flight playing at #1 with Tamila Latif-Zade.
  • Brooklyn faces No. 16 Skidmore in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament.