GRANVILLE, Ohio -- The 40th-ranked Big Red women's tennis team dropped a 5-3 decision to the third-seeded and 34th-ranked Kenyon Ladies on Saturday in the semifinals of the 2017 North Coast Athletic Conference Tournament.
Kenyon's top doubles flight opened the scoring with an 8-4 victory before an 8-5 decision by Ashley Hammons and Charlotte Purnode at No. 3 doubles evened the match at 1-1. The Ladies grabbed the lead after doubles with an 8-2 win at the second flight.
Maggie Sweeney extended the lead for Kenyon with a three-set victory at No. 2 singles (2-6, 6-0, 6-1). Jenna Murray's 7-6 (7-4), 6-0 win at the third flight put the Ladies one point away from the match victory. Sophomore Ashley Hammons pulled the Big Red closer with a three-set decision over Mara Kaspers at the fourth flight. After dropping the opening set 7-5, Hammons rebounded with back-to-back 6-2 scores.
Lauren Hawley shrunk deficit to 4-3 after winning a marathon three-setter with Diana Aboubakare at No. 1 singles. The two players split the first two sets by identically 6-4 scores with Hawley winning the second to force a third-and-final set. The Denison sophomore jumped out to a commanding 5-0 lead before a four-point rally by Aboubakare. Hawley went on to break Aboubakare's serve to bring the match to an end. The Big Red's comeback bid fell just short as Annie Reiner won in straight-sets (6-2, 6-4) at fifth singles.
With the win, Kenyon (11-9) advances to the championship match of the 2017 NCAC Tournament where they will face off against top-seeded DePauw (15-6) who defeated Oberlin, 5-0, in the other semifinal match. Denison (9-11) will play in the third-place match against the Yeowomen. Both matches are slated to start at 9 a.m. and be played at Kenyon College.