WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass.—No. 16 Skidmore College rallied to take a 2-1 lead after doubles and then won three of the first four singles matches to be completed on its way to defeating 35th-ranked Babson College, 5-2, in an NCAA Tournament Second Round match at the Torrance M. Hunt '44 Tournament Courts at Williams College on Saturday afternoon.
With its first NCAA Tournament win since 2013, Skidmore (14-8) advances to take on top-ranked Williams (21-0) in the regional final on Sunday afternoon. Babson, which tied the 2003-04 team for the most single-season victories in program history on Friday, sees its season come to an end at 16-9.
The Beavers took the lead in each of the three doubles matches and were dominant at number one where seniors Alex Freeman (Medfield, Mass.) and Alexis Ferraro (Coral Gables, Fla.) raced out to a 4-0 lead en route to an 8-3 triumph. Each of the other two matches went down to the wire as Thoroughbreds' first-years Michelle Fuca (Manchester, Mass.) and Erica Meno (Easton, Conn.) won the final two games to top junior Tori Paolino (East Orleans, Mass.) and sophomore Dina Weick (Woodbridge, Conn.), 8-6, at number three, while classmates Caroline Finnegan (Duxbury, Mass.) and Brianna Greene (Westborough, Mass.) held off Babson first-years Kylie Kam (Honolulu, Hawaii) and Jenny Quenard (St. Legier, Switzerland) by an 8-6 count at number two.
Greene was a 6-2, 6-0 winner over Paolino at number three singles to give Skidmore a 3-1 lead, but Freeman rolled to a 6-2, 6-3 victory over senior Zoe Valella (Weston, Conn.) at number one to earn the Beavers' second point of the match. Fuca defeated Babson first-year Claire Foster (Orange, Conn.), 6-4, 6-2, at number five, and Meno secured the match for the Thoroughbreds with a 6-3, 6-4 triumph over Ferraro at number four.
Weick won the first set in a tiebreaker and had played just one game in the second set at number six singles at the time of Skidmore's victory. Quenard rallied from a 4-1 first-set deficit to force a tiebreaker before being outlasted 11-9 by Thoroughbreds' first-year Danielle Gianetti (Oyster Bay, N.Y.).
MATCH NOTES: Saturday's match was the first between Babson and Skidmore…Ferraro's win at number one doubles was the 100th of her career, making her just the seventh in the program since 1994 to record 100 or more victories…with two wins on Saturday Freeman finishes her career with 104 wins, including a career-high 22 doubles victories this season.