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No. 4 Cardinals Gear Up for NCAA Quarterfinal Action

MIDDLETOWN, Conn. – The No. 4 Wesleyan women’s tennis team heads to Kalamazoo, Michigan for the NCAA Quarterfinals on Sunday. The Cardinals advanced to the next round of the tournament after cruising past Rhode Island College 5-0 in a Second Round match, before easing past No. 8 Brandeis 5-1 in a Regional Final. Wesleyan will take on No. 19 MIT in Quarterfinal action on Monday, May 20th at 8:30 a.m.

The Cardinals recorded a program-best 17 wins so far this spring, surpassing the old mark of 14, as they concluded their home matches with an unblemished 10-0 mark. Wesleyan won its first Little Three title this year en route to its first NESCAC Championship. This is the fourth-straight NCAA Division III Tournament berth for Wesleyan and second-straight Quarterfinal appearance. The Cardinals have won nine-straight and are looking for their first-ever NCAA Semifinal appearance.

the matchup

  • The Cardinals and the Engineers have not met this year, as this will mark just the sixth meeting all-time.
  • Wesleyan holds a 3-2 edge in the overall series, as the Cardinals won the most recent meeting during the 2016-17 season.
  • MIT holds an 18-3 overall record, as the Engineers went a perfect 8-0 in conference play to win its fourth-straight NEWMAC Championship.
  • The Engineers are also making their second-straight appearance in the NCAA Quarterfinals and 19th appearance overall in the tournament.

doubles previeW

  • Wesleyan sisters Victoria Yu and Kristina Yu, currently ranked No. 5 in the Northeast, have played phenomenally in their first and only collegiate year together in the #1 spot. Victoria, a three-time National Champion in doubles, picked up where she left off last year, but this time with a familiar face as she looks to defend her 2017 doubles title. The sister duo boasts an impressive 24-6 overall mark, as they earned All-NESCAC First Team Doubles this spring. The duo has also been selected to compete in the NCAA Individual Championships which will begin on May 24th, following the team competition. There will be 16 doubles teams competing and the pair will find out their fate when the women’s tennis committee announces the draw on May 23rd by 1:00 p.m.
  • MIT’s Libby Rickeman and Viktoriya Tabunshchyk, ranked No. 10 in the Northeast, have played at #1 all season for the Engineers. The tandem is riding a four-match win streak, as they most recently eased past Northeast No. 8 duo Julia Marks and Devon Wolfe of No. 7 Bowdoin, 8-2.
  • 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 19-4 overall record with their only two conference losses coming against Middlebury duo Katherine Hughes and Skylar Schossberger.
  • The #2 spot for the Engineers has consistently seen action from Megan Guenther and Marina Zhang. The pair is riding a four match win streak heading into the Quarterfinals.
  • 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 have now won eight of their last nine.
  • MIT’s Ashley Teng and Lara Rakocevic have played at #3 for the majority of the season, most recently topping Bowdoin’s #3 duo, 8-6, to secure a point for the Engineers.

singles preview

victoria yu

  • Senior Yu has played in the #1 spot in all 18 of her matches. She is currently ranked No. 3 in the Northeast, was selected to the All-NESCAC First Team Singles and was named the ITA Northeast Senior of the Year. Last season, Yu was the National runner-up in singles competition and has again been selected to compete in the NCAA Individual Championships which will begin on May 24th, following the team competition. Yu will find out who she faces when the women’s tennis committee announces the draw on May 23rd by 1:00 p.m.
  • Rickeman, No. 13 in the Northeast, has played at #1 all season for the Engineers, recording wins against Northeast ranked No. 18 Diana Dehterevich (Brandeis) and No. 21 Maggie Dorr (Tufts).

venia yeung

  • Yeung, No. 6 in the Northeast, has been steady in the #2 spot and boasts a 9-2 overall record this spring. Yeung earned All-NESCAC First Team laurels and was also selected to compete in the NCAA Individual Championships beginning on May 24th. Two weeks ago, she clinched the historic conference championship, battling through three tight sets against Middlebury’s Katherine Hughes.
  • Yeung will likely face Tabunshchyk in the Quarterfinals. MIT’s Tabunshchyk is currently ranked No. 22 in the Northeast and recorded a big win against Bowdoin’s Tasha Christ last week in the Regional Final.

kristina yu

  • 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. She earned All-NESCAC First Team Singles honors and was also selected to compete in the NCAA Individual Championships.
  • Zhang has played the last several matches at #3, though her last three were all unfinished when the matches were clinched. Heading into NCAA play, Zhang had won seven-straight in straight sets.

polina kiseleva

  • 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 13 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. Last week, Kiseleva played strong tennis against No. 8 Brandeis’ Lauren Bertsch, grabbing Wesleyan’s fourth point with a decisive 6-2, 6-0 victory.
  • Rakocevic has played most of the season at #4, but has on occasion moved up to #3. She heads into Quarterfinal play with a 16-2 overall spring record.

alexis almy

  • Almy has made an immediate impact during her rookie campaign, playing in the fifth spot several times this spring. She has won six-straight matches and played with a fire and intensity in the NESCAC Championship that exceeded all of her prior matches.
  • Teng has been at #5 for the majority of the season for MIT, as she saw her 14 match win streak come to an end last weekend. All wins during her streak were completed in straight sets.

alissa nakamoto

  • Nakamoto has had a great sophomore season, winning 11 matches and falling in just three this spring. In the conference tournament, both of her singles matches did not finish, but she was up in both when the decisions were clinched, before clinching the match against No. 8 Brandeis last weekend with her straight sets win (6-2, 6-1).
  • Megan Guenther has seen action at #6 in the last six matches for the Engineers. Earlier this spring, she won 10-straight in a combination of play at #5 and #6.

other quarterfinal matchups

no. 2 cMS vs. no. 11 carnegie mellon

  • No. 2 Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (CMS) will take on No. 11 Carnegie Mellon in the team’s first meeting this spring.
  • CMS, the defending National Champions, boast a 25-1 overall record, as they are riding an 18-match win streak. The only loss of the season for the Athenas came at the expense of Emory in the finals of the ITA National Indoor Championships.
  • The Tartans enter the tournament for the 14th time, as they look to make their first appearance in the NCAA Semifinals.

Wesleyan vs. Opponents

  • The Cardinals have never faced CMS, but hold a 3-0 series record against Carnegie Mellon. Wesleyan topped then-No. 10 Tartans 6-3 in Florida earlier this year.

no. 3 middlebury vs. no. 6 amherst

  • No. 3 Middlebury will face NESCAC rival No. 6 Amherst for the third time this year, as the Panthers blanked the Mammoths 9-0 and 5-0 this spring.
  • Middlebury has an 18-2 overall record and is making its fifth-consecutive NCAA Quarterfinal appearance and sixth in the last seven years, as it looks to win its first-ever National title.
  • The Mammoths are making their 15th Quarterfinal appearance, with their lone-National title coming in 1999.

Wesleyan vs. Opponents

  • The Cardinals have met Middlebury 30 times, and have split a pair of matches this spring. Wesleyan was edged 5-4 by the Panthers earlier this year, but the Cardinals avenged their loss to win their first-ever NESCAC Championship, topping Middlebury on its home court 5-2.
  • Wesleyan faced then-No. 7 Amherst once this year, easing to a 6-3 victory to win it’s first Little Three Title.

no. 1 emory vs. no. 12 chicago

  • Top-ranked Emory squares off against No. 12 Chicago in the team’s second meeting this spring. In the lone meeting at the UAA Championship, the Eagles edged Chicago 5-4.
  • Emory enters the Quarterfinals for the 12th-straight year and 29th overall, as the Eagles own a 19-3 mark. The program is seeking its eighth National title.
  • Chicago is making its fourth-consecutive Quarterfinal appearance and looks to make it back to the Semifinals for the first time since 2012.

Wesleyan vs. Opponents

  • The Cardinals suffered their first loss of the spring to then-No. 1 Emory in the team’s second-ever meeting, while Wesleyan and Chicago have never played each other.

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