May 1, 2013

Fords advance to Centennial semifinals with 5-3 victory over Washington

HAVERFORD, Pa. - The Haverford College women's tennis team advanced to the Centennial Conference semifinals with a 5-3 win over visiting Washington College in opening-round action on Wednesday evening at Norman B. Bramall Tennis Courts.

Aiming to take down the fifth-seeded Shorewomen (7-11) for the second time this season, the fourth-seeded Fords (12-6) grabbed an early 1-0 lead after senior Rachal Torg and junior Kate Donches registered a quick 8-1 victory over Kat Cohen and Amy Stevens at No. 3 doubles. Washington tied the contest with a win at 2-doubles but Caitlin Gallagher and Alex Ferrara came through at top-flight doubles to give Haverford a 2-1 advantage. Gallagher and Ferrara, the ninth-ranked doubles team in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Atlantic South Region, shook off a 3-1 deficit to win 8-4. It was the duo's team-leading 12th victory of 2013.

Needing just three points in singles to claim the match, Haverford, the 11th-ranked team in the Atlantic South, added to its lead with straight set wins by Donches, at No. 6, and freshman Robyn Himelstein, at No. 3.

Washington managed to close within one at 4-3 but Ferrara finished off a 6-0, 6-2 victory at No. 2 to secure the Fords' fourth trip to the Centennial semifinals in the last five years.

Haverford also ended the Shorewomen's season in 2012 with a 5-1 win in the conference tournament's opening-round match.

Looking to advance to the Centennial finals for the first time in program history, the Fords will have to be at their best on Saturday as they face host Johns Hopkins University at 3 p.m. The top-seeded Blue Jays currently rank sixth in Division III and have won six consecutive conference titles.