CLAREMONT, Calif. - Despite waging a good fight in singles, the Whitman College women's tennis team dropped a 5-0 decision to the Athenas of Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (CMS) in Saturday's second round of the NCAA Division III National Championships.
Playing in a six-team regional tournament in Claremont, Calif., Whitman was unable to keep pace with CMS, now 21-3 on the season and ranked No. 9 nationally (No. 1 West Region).
The Missionaries, making their first-ever appearance in the NCAA championships, saw their season end with an 18-5 record.
The Athenas, the regional host and top-seeded team in the regional, had a first-round bye on Friday as Whitman slugged its way past UC-Santa Cruz 5-3 in an opening round match.
CMS advances to Sunday's regional final, where they face Pomona-Pitzer (16-7), which knocked off Trinity 5-2 in Saturday's other second-round match.
In Saturday's opening round of doubles, Whitman nearly salvaged a team point at the No. 3 spot, where sophomore Hannah Palkowitz and first-year teammate Hannah Palkowitz battled to a 6-6 deadlock. But opponents Chloe Dobbert and Jaclyn Smrecek won the next two games to complete the doubles sweep for the Athenas.
Junior Alyssa Roberg and first-year teammate Courtney Lawless held their own at the start of the No. 1 doubles match, but Kristin Lim and Jessie Huang took the last three games for an 8-5 victory.
Senior Emily Rolston and first-year Missionary Morgan Lawless had a tougher time at No. 2 doubles, losing 8-2 to Crystal Lim and Sarah Kukino.
The six matches in singles were more competitive, although CMS claimed the first two decisions to clinch the team triumph at 5-0.
Ater Dobbert downed junior Kate Kunkel-Patterson 6-2, 6-2 at No. 4 singles, Smrecek won the last two games at No. 5 to finish a 6-3, 7-5 victory over Webster.
Rolston, playing her last collegiate match at No. 6 singles, held a 7-5, 3-2 lead over Victoria Santoro when CMS clinched and the remaining matches were left unfinished.
Courtney Lawless, working on a 20-match winning streak, was on the doorstop of victory at No. 2 singles with a 7-6, 5-3 lead over Crystal Lim at No. 2 singles.
Morgan Lawless also had victory within sight at No. 3 singles, where she led Kukino 4-6, 6-1, 2-1.