ALTAMONTE SPRINGS, Fla. – The sixth-seeded Brandeis women's tennis team had a couple of close calls, but couldn't quite put away third-seeded Washington University in a 7-2 defeat in the opening round of the 2017 University Athletic Association championships at Sanlando Park in Florida.
In doubles action, Washington U. pulled off the sweep, but the Judges had opportunities to win a pair of matches at Nos. 1 and 3. Rookie Sabrina Ross Neergaard (Port Orchard, Wash./Laurel Springs Acad.) and sophomore Olivia Leavitt (Falmouth, Maine/Falmouth) had a 6-2 lead at the top spot, but the Bears' tandem of Rebecca Ho and Kaylan Griffith rallied for a 9-7 win. At No. 3, Brandeis's Keren Khromchenko (Manalapan, N.J./Allied Acad. Of Health and Sciences) and Michele Lehat (Great Neck N.Y./John L. Miller Great Neck North) and WashU's Sanjna Tripathy and Mindy Borovsky stayed on serve for much of the match, reaching a tiebreaker, where the Bears prevailed, 9-8 (7-2).
In singles action, both teams posted two straight-set wins. Brandeis got points at No. 3, where Khromchenko defeated Brigitte Hodge, 6-1, 6-3, while Leavitt avenged her doubles loss to Griffith, 7-6 (7-4), 6-2. Washington clinched the match with wins at No. 2, where Grace Deering defeated Haley Cohen (Cherry Hill, N.J./Laurel Springs Acad.), 6-3, 6-1, and at No 5, where Tripathy topped Sophia He (Poughkeepskie, N.Y./Spackenkill), 6-3, 6-4.
In the two three-set matches, Brandeis players rallied from losing the first set to win the second, but the Bears claimed the super-tiebreakers. Ho defeated Ross Neergaard in a rematch, 6-3, 3-6, 10-4, while Kate Lee downed Lehat, 6-2, 3-6, 10-2.
Brandeis (14-4, ranked #19) advances to the consolation bracket, where they will take on seventh seeded NYU (6-3, #31) tomorrow at 2 p.m. The Judges defeated the Violets, 5-4, earlier this season. Washington (12-8, #10) takes on Chicago (15-3, #9) in the semifinals.