#8 women's tennis moves on in NCAAs with 5-0 win over #16 Skidmore

Olivia Leavitt '19 and Lauren Bertsch '21 in the 2nd round of the NCAA tournament (photo by Andrew Vatistas)
Olivia Leavitt '19 and Lauren Bertsch '21 in the 2nd round of the NCAA tournament (photo by Andrew Vatistas)

MIDDLETOWN, Conn. – The eighth-ranked Brandeis University women's tennis team reached the third round of the NCAA Division III tournament today with a 5-0 victory over #16-ranked Skidmore College. The Judges, playing in their first-ever NCAA tournament, improve to 14-7 with the win and move within one victory of tying the program single-season record. The Thoroughbreds end their season at 14-7.

In a rematch of a contest won by Brandeis, 6-3, earlier this season, the Judges jumped out to a quick lead by sweeping the doubles action. Junior Diana Dehterevich (Minsk, Belarus/Secondary School #185 of Minsk) and senior Keren Khromchenko (Manalapan, N.J./Academy of Allied Health and Science) opened things up with an 8-2 win at No. 2.

Senior Sophia He (Poughkeepsie, N.Y./Spackenkill) and rookie Ana Hatfield (Rockford, Ill./Boylan Central Catholic) followed with an 8-4 win at No. 3.

That left senior Olivia Leavitt (Falmouth, Maine/Falmouth) and sophomore Lauren Bertsch (Middletown, R.I./LaSalle Academy) at No. 1 taking on Skidmore's Risa Fukushige and Renee Karcher-Sun. The Thoroughbred duo had earned the win when these two teams met on April 7, taking a tiebreaker, 8-7 (7-4). This time, the Judges turned the tables, winning by a similar 8-7 (7-3) score to complete the doubles sweep.

In singles play, Brandeis acted quickly to end the match. He knocked off Laura Swenson, 6-0, 6-1, at No. 6 to earn a point for the second-straight match. Leavitt picked up her second win of the season against Thoroughbred Dea Koiava, 6-4, 6-2, to make the final a 5-0 shutout. Skidmore had won first sets in each of the remaining singles matches, but it wasn't enough to offset the quick work of He and Leavitt.

"The team was well prepared for Skidmore today," said head coach Ben Lamanna. "They competed very well. The doubles sweep was important. Olivia and Lauren winning a tiebreaker against a top team like that was huge. We've been thriving in this battle and we look forward to tomorrow's competition."

Brandeis will advance to take on #4-ranked Wesleyan tomorrow at noon for a chance to advance to next weekend's championship site, Kalamazoo College in Michigan. The host Cardinals defeated Rhode Island College, 5-0, today.