BABSON PARK, Mass. – MIT first-years Vynnie Kong (Cupertino, Calif.) and Juana Becerra (Bucaramanga, Columbia) teamed up for a key tie-breaker victory at number three doubles to help the second-seeded Engineers top the third-seeded Babson College Beavers, 5-3, in the semifinals of the 2011 New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Women's Tennis Tournament on Saturday afternoon.
With the win, MIT (7-2) advances to Sunday's Championship Match at 1 p.m., as the Engineers will take on top-seeded Wellesley with the conference crown and an automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Tournament on the line. Meanwhile, Babson (9-3) sees the fall portion of its 2011-12 season come to a close.
After MIT's top duo of sophomores Lauren Quisenberry (Corpus Christie, Texas) and Julia Hsu (Knoxville, Tenn.) teamed up for an 8-5 win at number one, Babson tied the match when senior captains Ashley Lake (Brockton, Mass.) and Rebecca Stone (Dover, Mass.) pulled out a 9-7 victory at number two. Kong and Becerra then outdueled Babson's tandem of first-years Alexis Ferraro (Coral Gables, Fla.) and Minte Tamoshunas (Pittsford, N.Y.) in a tie-breaker, 9-8 (0), to give the Engineers a 2-1 lead after doubles.
The two teams split the first four completed matches in singles play, resulting in a 4-3 MIT advantage. For the Engineers, Quisenberry cruised, 6-0, 6-0, at number one and Kong prevailed, 6-1, 6-1, at five, while for Babson, sophomore Sarah Whitaker (Dellwood, Minn.) won, 6-2, 6-3, at number two and Tamoshunas added a 6-4, 6-2 victory at four.
Babson led in each of the final two matches, as Stone and first-year Courtney Fischer (Greenwich, Conn.) each won their opening set at three and six, respectively. However, after both contests were moved indoors to the Boston Sports Club due to darkness, MIT senior Anastasia Vishnevetsky (Orange, Conn.) finished off a thrilling 2-6, 7-5, 6-2 comeback win at four to clinch the overall match for the Engineers.
Regardless of who emerges victorious in Sunday's title match, Wellesley and MIT will have combined to win 16 of the NEWMAC's 25 conference championships dating back to 1987. Wellesley is seeking its 11th conference championship, while MIT is searching for its sixth league crown.