GREENCASTLE, Ind. – It came down to the final match of the day for the No. 9 MIT women's tennis team in its first match at the 2016 Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Division III Indoor Championships. After over seven hours of play it was No. 12 Sewanee that edged the Engineers 5-4 after MIT was forced to retire in the deciding match.
MIT (10-1), the tournament's No. 3 seed and No. 6 seed Sewanee (5-2) split the first two doubles matches, with the Tigers team of Lindsey Liles and Clementina Davila taking the first point at No. 1 with an 8-4 decision. MIT's No. 2 team of freshman Kelly Zhu (Houston, Texas) and sophomore Dora Tzeng (Fremont, Calif.) then tied the match with an 8-5 win. The Engineers' No. 3 duo of junior Wendi Kong (Cupertino, Calif.) and sophomore Rena Liu (Oak Hill, Va.) then put up a good fight in their match against Sewanee's Annie Veron and Maggie Crumbliss, but came up just short in a 9-7 loss.
Zhu picked up the first point in singles play, holding off Davila in the No. 2 match, 6-1, 7-6. MIT then went up 3-2 when Tzeng bounced back from a second set loss in her match at No. 3 against Christina Merchant to take a 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 decision. Playing at No. 1 Junior Elysa Kohrs (Half Moon Bay, Calif.) gave MIT its third straight singles win, going to three sets to hold off Lindsey Liles, 6-4, 6-7, 7-5.
Sewanee then staged a comeback, taking the next two matches in straight sets to force the deciding sixth singles contest. At No. 5 Crumbliss blanked Liu, 6-0, 6-0 and at No. 4 it was Childress scoring a 7-6, 6-2 victory over Kong. It came down to the No. 6 match between junior Krystal Lai (Irvine, Calif.) and Vernon, where Lai came out on top in the first set, 6-4. Vernon bounced back and edged past Lai in the second set, 7-5, and then took the first game fo set three before Lai retired from the match, giving the Tigers the deciding point.
MIT will be back at it quickly tomorrow when the Engineers will face Washington University – St. Louis at 8:30 a.m.