REGIONAL CHAMPS! Women's Tennis Advances to the Elite Eight With 5-3 Win Over No. 6 Tufts

REGIONAL CHAMPS! Women's Tennis Advances to the Elite Eight With 5-3 Win Over No. 6 Tufts

THE BASICS:

- Location: Medford, Mass. (Voute Tennis Courts)

- Score: No. 11 MIT 5, No. 6 Tufts University 3

- Records: No. 11 MIT (20-2); Tufts University (13-7)

- The Lead: In a thrilling regional final on Sunday afternoon, the No. 11 ranked MIT women's tennis team advanced to the program's second Elite Eight with a 5-3 victory over No. 6 ranked Tufts University. The victory gives the team its first 20-win season in program history and avenged an earlier 5-4 loss to the Jumbos from back in early April. This is MIT's second Elite Eight appearance in the last four seasons.

HOW IT HAPPENED:

- The Engineers came out of the doubles action trailing 2-1 after an 8-4 win at No. 1 from senior Elysa Kohrs (Half Moon Bay, Calif.) and freshman Libby Rickeman (Wayzata, Minn.). At No. 3, sophomore Lara Rakocevic (Portland, Ore.) and junior Kelly Zhu (Pearland, Texas) trailed 6-4 before rallying to tie the match at 6-6. Kat Wiley and Zoe Miller of Tufts got back on track though to come away with the 8-6 final in the first of the doubles matches to finish.

- In singles, freshman Marina Zhang (Garnet Valley, Pa.) defeated Wiley in straight sets at 6-0, 6-0 to knot the match at 2-2 overall. At No. 2 singles, Rickeman went to three sets with Patricia Obeid and jumped out to a 5-2 lead in the third before grinding out the win to put MIT in front for the first time at 3-2.

- The next point went to Tufts at the No. 5 spot as Miller defeated Rakocevic in a 7-6, 6-3 final to tie the match back up at 3-3.

- In the No. 1 spot, Kohrs dropped the first set to Mina Karamercan by a 6-3 margin before taking the second 6-2 to send that match to a deciding set. Both players battled back and forth in the third before Kohrs completed the 3-6, 6-2, 6-3 win to put the Engineers within a point of advancing.

- That set up the final two matches in progress as No. 3 and No. 4 were both heading to third-set tiebreakers. Senior Dora Tzeng (Fremont, Calif.) and Tomo Iwasaki went back and forth throughout the match, but it was Tzeng that jumped out to an early advantage in the tiebreak. Junior Kelly Zhu (Pearland, Texas) and Lauren Louks of Tufts were locked in a tiebreak battle at No. 3, but it was Tzeng that clinched the match when Iwasaki's return went just long.

INSIDE THE NUMBERS:

- MIT currently sits at No. 11 in the latest Oracle/ITA Division III National rankings, while the Engineers are also ranked sixth in the Northeast Region. Kohrs is ranked No. 2 in the latest regional singles rankings, while Rickeman checks in at the No. 9 spot. In addition, as a doubles team Kohrs and Rickeman are fifth in the region.

- MIT now has nine wins over nationally-ranked teams in 2018.

UP NEXT:

- MIT now advances to the Elite Eight, which will be hosted by Claremont-Mudd-Scripps in Claremont, Calif. MIT will face Claremont-Mudd-Scripps in the National Quarterfinals, with more details on match times forthcoming. Play for the tournament runs from May 21-23, followed by the NCAA Singles/Doubles Championship from May 24-26.

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