CAMBRIDGE, Mass.—Second-seeded Babson College jumped out to a 2-1 lead after doubles and got within a point of its second consecutive conference title before top-seeded MIT rallied for a 5-4 victory in the championship match of the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) women's tennis tournament on Sunday afternoon at the JB Carr Tennis Bubble.
The title was the third in the last four years for MIT (10-0), which claimed the league's automatic bid to the 2016 NCAA Tournament. Babson, which defeated the Engineers, 5-4, in the 2014 NEWMAC Tournament championship match, falls to 11-2 on the year and will enter the spring portion of its schedule looking to earn an at-large berth to the NCAA Tournament.
MIT took one-game leads in all three doubles matches before the Beavers rallied for two points. The first-year duo of Chloe Brandt (Denver, Colo) and Eleni Gianelos (West Chester, Pa.) defeated junior Krystal Lai (Irvine, Calif.) and sophomore Dora Tzeng (Fremont, Calif.), 8-5, to claim the first point of the day at third doubles.
Babson's sophomore tandem of Yagmur Akgul (Istanbul, Turkey) and Jenny Quenard (St.-Legier, Switzerland) followed with an 8-4 win at number one before Engineers' sophomore Sonya Das (Arden Hills, Minn.) and first-year Kelly Zhu (Houston, Texas) held off senior Tori Paolino (East Orleans, Mass.) and junior Dina Weick (Woodbridge, Conn.), 8-4, to cut their deficit to 2-1.
Das earned the first singles point of the afternoon with a 6-0, 6-2 victory over Paolino at number four to even the match at 2-2. The Green and White bounced right back, regaining the lead with back-to-back wins. Gianelos rolled past Zhu 6-1, 6-2 at number two, while Quenard rallied for a 1-6, 6-4, 6-3 decision over Tzeng at number three to get within a point of the title.
MIT responded though, as sophomore Cindy Liu (Claremont, Calif.) topped Weick 6-1, 6-4 at number five, and junior Wendy Kong (Cupertino, Calif.) downed Brandt in straight sets at number six to even the match at 4-4. The final result came at number one where Akgul and Engineers' junior Elysa Kohrs (Half Moon Bay, Calif.) battled for over two and half hours. Akgul won the first set, but Kohrs, who was named NEWMAC Tournament Most Outstanding Player, rallied to claim the last two for a 4-6, 7-5, 6-3 triumph.
• Sunday's loss snapped the Beavers' four-match winning streak in the NEWMAC Tournament.
• Akgul, who is now 27-0 in dual-match doubles over the last two years, suffered just the second dual-match singles loss of her career on Sunday.
• Weick's loss at number five singles was her first of the season and snapped a 12-match winning streak going back to last spring.
• Quenard, who dropped her opening singles match of the year, ended the fall with her fifth consecutive victory on Sunday.