BABSON PARK, Mass. – Trailing 2-1 after doubles, third-seeded Wellesley College tennis rallied in three of the six singles matches but came up just short in a 5-2 setback to second-seeded Babson College in a New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Tournament semifinal on Tuesday afternoon at the Babson Tennis Center.
With the win, Babson improves to 13-4 overall and advances to the conference final for the first time since 2015. Wellesley closes the year at 14-8.
Babson built a 2-1 lead after doubles but it was the Blue that opened the match in the lead, as first years Lizzy Kong (Mason, Ohio) and Lily Chu (Princeton, N.J) defeated senior Claire Foster (Orange, Conn.) and sophomore Emily Roeper (Belle Mead, N.J.), 8-1, at No. 3 doubles. However, the hosts rebounded with an 8-3 victory from seniors Jenny Quenard (St.-Legier, Switzerland) and Kylie Kam (Honolulu, Hawaii) at No. 2 before taking the lead when first years Alexa Tutecky (North York, Ontario) and Carolina Merz (Santa Tecla, El Salvador) defeated junior Justine Huang (Coto de Caza, Calif.) and sophomore Selina Peng (Taichung, Taiwan), 8-6, at number one.
Claire Foster Quenard and first year Marissa Madison (Columbus, Ohio) all went on to earn victories in singles play to clinch the match for the Beavers but the Blue rallied in the remaining three matches, as Kong earned a victory at No. 6 and Huang and Peng were both leading when the Beavers clinched the victory. Foster put Babson up 3-1 with a 6-0, 6-3 win over Blue sophomore Korina Hernandez (Princeton, N.J.) at No. 3 singles, before Madison followed with a 6-2, 6-1 win over junior Sojin Ki (Irvine, Calif.) at No. 5. Wellesley then cut the deficit to 4-2 when Chu took down Kam 7-5 (3), 6-2 at No. 6.
With Wellesley trailing 4-2, Tutecky and Huang split the first two sets at No. 1, with Tutecky taking the opener 6-1 before Huang rebounded with a 6-1 win. Huang was leading in the third set 4-1 at the time the match was called. At No. 2, Peng fought off a 6-3 defeat in the opener to take a 6-4 win in the second set over Merz. Merz had a 3-2 lead in the third set but the final set never played out as Quenard punched Babson's ticket to the NEWMAC final with a hard-fought 7-6 (3), 6-4 win over Kong at No. 3.
Tuesday's match ends the 2017-18 season for the Wellesley tennis program.