Boston, Mass.-- The most successful women’s tennis season in Suffolk University history will resume on Friday morning, as the undefeated Rams earned their first-ever berth in the NCAA Division III Women’s Tennis Championships when the field of 47 was announced on Monday evening.
Head Coach Steve Counihan’s squad, which posted a perfect 14-0 mark last fall in capturing both the Great Northeast Athletic Conference regular season and tournament titles, will begin its quest for the national crown on Friday, May 2nd when Suffolk squares off with Skidmore College’s Thoroughbreds in opening round action at Amherst College’s Wolff Center beginning at 11:00 a.m. EDT. The winner of that match will advance to take on host Amherst, the second seed nationally in this year’s championships, on Saturday, May 3rd at 11:00 a.m. EDT, and the third round of the tournament is set for Sunday, May 4th beginning at 12:30 p.m. EDT.
Suffolk, which has posted an overall mark of 34-14 (.708) during Counihan’s four-year tenure on Beacon Hill, wrestled the Great Northeast titles away from three-time defending champion Simmons last October, as the Rams ended the Sharks’ 36-match conference winning streak with a 6-3 triumph to take the regular season crown before notching a thrilling 5-4 victory in the Great Northeast tournament title match last October 28th.
Suffolk, which has shattered the school record for victories during the academic year, is led by senior Jennifer Nelson (Newburyport, Mass./Newburyport), a two-time selection as Great Northeast Player of the Year in both 2005 and 2006. Sophomores Kaitlynn Cates (Middlebury, Conn./Pomperaug) and Catarina Rosa (Fall River, Mass./Bishop Connolly) sport a combined mark of 49-2 on the season in singles and doubles action for the Rams, while freshman Alex Hernandez (Newton, Mass./Newton North) earned Great Northeast Co-Rookie of the Year accolades after notching a combined 17-3 mark in singles and doubles play.
Skidmore, which brings an 11-5 overall mark into Friday’s first round match, finished as the runner-up in the Liberty League this spring. Head Coach Curt Speerschneider’s squad is led by freshman Rachael Loeb, who has collected a combined 28 victories in singles and doubles action during the season. Skidmore, the 1998 NCAA Division III national champion, also received 14 singles triumphs from sophomore Danielle Fancher this spring.
The winner of Friday’s Suffolk-Skidmore match-up advances to take on host Amherst, which captured the New England Small College Athletic Conference crown in avenging its lone setback of the season with a 5-4 triumph over Williams last Sunday. Friday’s other first round contest will pit Vassar (13-4) against Bridgewater State (7-2), with the winner advancing to take on Bowdoin (12-7) in Saturday’s other second round match.
For more information on the 2008 NCAA Division III Women’s Tennis Championships at Amherst College, log-on to https://cms.amherst.edu/athletics/teams/fall/tennis-w/ncaa_regional_website.