2016 Women’s National Team Championships (Kurtz Cup, B Div): Day 2 Report

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New Haven, CT — The day’s action ended with the Kurtz Cup semifinals and consolation semifinals.

Top-seeded Dartmouth faced Williams, who came into the tournament ranked 12th overall. Today’s contest was a rematch of the 2015 Kurtz Cup semifinal, which Dartmouth won, 7-2; the Big Green ultimately lost to Stanford in the final.

Dartmouth and Williams had played each other in early February, and the Big Green had prevailed in a close 5-4 match.

The first round of matches could have gone to either team. At number 6, the Big Green’s Janel Gaube won decisively in three. The number 3 and number 9 matches were a different story. At number 3, Dartmouth’s Rebecca Brownell went out to a 2-0 lead, then lost games three and four to Williams’ Nicole Feshbach. Brownell was able to regroup and win the fifth, 11-5. At number 9, Williams’ Caroline Hogan jumped to a 2-0 lead in games, and then Dartmouth’s Madeline Fraser started to stage a comeback, winning 12-10 in the third and 11-9 in the fourth. The fifth went to Fraser as well, and Dartmouth emerged from the first round with a 3-0 lead.

Williams gained ground in the second wave with three-game wins from Hayley Parsons at number 2 and Charlotte Walsh at number 8. Zainab Molani’s three-game win for Dartmouth at number 5 kept the Big Green out ahead. Dartmouth would need just one win in the final flight to clinch, while Williams would need to sweep the last three matches on court.

The Big Green got the win they needed from Lydie McKenzie, who won in four at number 4. Dartmouth ultimately won by a score of 7-2.

In the other semifinal, second-seeded Drexel squared off against Brown, the third seed in the division. Brown was in the same position a year ago, playing in the Kurtz semifinals, where they lost to eventual champions Stanford. Drexel reached last year’s B Division consolation finals, but the match was cancelled due to severe winter weather.

Drexel and Brown had not played each other during the regular season.

In the first round, Brown had success in the lower two-thirds of the ladder: Hannah Safford at number 9 and Katrina Northrop at number 6 both won in four. Drexel’s Mary Fung-a-Fat prevailed in four at number 3. At the end of the round, Brown had the 2-1 advantage.

Brown and Drexel split the first two matches in the second round. The Bears’ Purvi Goel won in three at number 8, and the Dragons’ Elisabeth Money had a three-game win at number 5. At number 2, Skylar Murphy of Brown and Ryan Morgan of Drexel traded games until Morgan pulled away to take the fourth and fifth. The team match was now tied 3-all.

Again, Brown and Drexel split three-game wins: Hayley Hughes took the number 1 match for Drexel, and Hannah Hay-Smith claimed the number 7 match for Brown. The number 4 match would decide it all. Drexel’s Fiona Power won the first game handily, 11-4, but Brown’s Emily Richmond forced the next game to extra points, ultimately falling short, 10-12, to Power. The third game was Richmond’s, 11-7. In the fourth, the two players tied at  10-all, then at 11, 12, and 13. Power finally put two points together to win 15-13, winning the deciding match in four.

The final score was Drexel 5, Brown 4.

Drexel and Dartmouth will compete for the Kurtz Cup tomorrow at 2 pm.

In the consolation semifinals, George Washington defeated Virginia, 7-2, and Franklin & Marshall beat Middlebury, 6-3. GW and F&M will play tomorrow in the consolation finals, which are scheduled for 11:30 am.