Courtesy Wesleyan and Williams Sports Information
KALAMAZOO, Mich. - Wesleyan sophomore Eudice Chong and the Williams doubles team of sophomore Juli Raventos and junior Linda Shin successfully defended their respective NCAA Division III Women's Tennis Singles and Doubles Championships on Saturday at Kalamazoo College.
Chong captured her second singles title after she defeated Raventos in the finals. Chong finished the season with an impressive 30-2 overall record, with both losses coming at the hands of Raventos earlier this season. With the loss, Raventos closed out the 2015-16 calendar year with a singles record of 23-2.
Chong opened the first set by taking the first two games, but Raventos broke Chong's serve in game three to make the score 2-1. Chong came right back in game four and broke Raventos to extend her lead to 3-1. Holding serve in game five, Chong went up 4-1 and then she broke Raventos to make it a 5-1 lead for the Cardinal. Raventos won the seventh game after the match went to deuce four times and would serve in game eight, down 5-2. Raventos was unable to score a point in the eighth game and Chong took the first set 6-2.
The second set began with Chong serving. Her serve was not as spot on as it was in the first set, and Raventos broke serve in game one when Chong double-faulted twice in the game. Raventos took a 1-0 lead and the serve into game two. Raventos capitalized on her first game break, holding her serve, and extending her lead to 2-0. In the third game, Chong's serve was better and she took the game to cut Raventos' lead to 2-1. The fourth game went to deuce and Raventos took the game with two deep forehands to the deep right corner on Chong, making the score 3-1 in her favor. Chong held serve in game five and the score in the setwas now 3-2, Raventos.
Chong broke Raventos' serve in the sixth game and tied the match at three all. Serving for the lead in the match in game seven, Chong held serve to take her first lead in the second set, 4-3.
Game eight went to deuce twice with Raventos trying to hold serve and tie the match, but Chong broke Raventos to take a 5-3 lead and was now going to serve for the match. Raventos, however, dug deep and won the game to stay in the match down 5-4. Raventos hit a groove on her serve in game 10 and tied the match at five all when her serve set up some relatively easy returns for points.
Chong used her serve to set herself up to win the 11th game and she took the 6-5 lead with Raventos serving again to stay in the match. It was not to be though as Chong denied Raventos any points in the 12th game, and claimed the win, 7-5.
Raventos was making the Ephs' first singles finals appearance since Grace Baljon in 2010. Cary Gibson also reached the singles finals in 2008. No Eph has won the NCAA Singles crown to date.
The Eph doubles team of Raventos and Linda Shin was paired against NESCAC rivals Tiffany Cheng and Joulia Likhanskaia of Bowdoin in the semifinals with the Eph pair still in the hunt to defend their 2015 NCAA Doubles title.
Raventos and Shin got off to a slow start in the first set against the Polar Bear duo as the Eph pair trailed 5-4, but they caught a spark and won three games in a row to claim the first set, 7-5.
The Ephs got off to another slow start in the second set and quickly found themselves down 3-0 and just as quickly that turned into a 5-0 deficit and then a 6-0 loss.
The third and final set saw the Bowdoin duo capture the first game to run their streak of wins to seven, before the Ephs took game two in the set and tied the set at one all. The Ephs held serve and tied the match at one and then won three more games to go up 4-3. Raventos held serve to make it 5-4 before the Eph duo closed out the match by breaking Likhanskaia's serve to win 6-3.
For the second year in a row, Raventos and Shin advanced to the NCAA Doubles Final and this time they would face the top-seeded tandem for Claremont-Mudd-Scripps in Caroline Ward and Katie Kuosman. Last year, the Eph duo downed Ward and Kuosman for the NCAA Doubles title 7-5, 6-7 (4), 6-3.
The first set in the championship match went to the Ephs, 6-2, after they served effectively and were aggressive on returns.
The second set started off with each team holding serve making the score 1-1. Ward and Kuosman opened up a 3-1 lead over the Ephs heading into game five of the second set. Shin and Raventos took the next point and the CMS lead was now 3-2. With two more wins, CMS lengthened its lead to 5-3 and were one game away from forcing a third set. Kuosman and Ward closed out the frame at 6-2.
In the decisive third set, the Ephs broke Ward's serve and took the early 1-0 lead and Linda Shin would serve game two trying to up the Eph lead to 2-0. Effective serving by Shin and stellar net play by Raventos lifted the Ephs to a 2-0 lead. Raventos with an aggressive forehand return off the serve from Katie Kuosman, which she then followed up with a deft lob over the charging CMS duo put the Ephs up 3-0 and two breaks.
The Ephs held serve with Raventos serving and the Ephs were up 4-0. Ward and Kuosman took the fifth game of the third set in the second playing of deuce off a smash return at the net by Ward and the Eph lead was now 4-1 with Linda Shin serving for Williams.
The Ephs were down 15-40 in the sixth game, but a net smash from Raventos sent the game to deuce. Raventos won a volley at the net to give the Ephs the advantage, but Kuosman's return sent Shin wide and her return was cleaned up by Ward to go back to deuce. Raventos at the net was all over a soft return by Ward and again the Ephs' had the advantage. Raventos closed out the game with a defensive half volley that found the far right corner and was untouched by CMS.
The Ephs were one game from repeating as the NCAA Division III Doubles Champions, but Ward and Kuosman bounced back to take the next game and force an eighth game with Williams up 5-2.
Raventos was up to serve for the match for the Ephs and the Williams duo quickly took a 40-15 lead. A return off a forehand from Raventos was hit long by CMS and the Ephs repeated as NCAA Doubles champions, posting a 6-2, 2-6, 6-2 victory.
Raventos and Shin are now 65-7 in two years as a doubles team and twice NCAA Doubles champions.
Chong and her doubles partner, sophomore Aashli Budhiraja were in search of the first ever doubles title for Wesleyan, but they fell just short, as they were defeated in the semifinals by Kuosman and Ward, 6-0, 6-2.