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Denison edges #21 Hope in home-opener

Ashley Hammons  |  Photo by Curt Ashcraft
Ashley Hammons | Photo by Curt Ashcraft

GRANVILLE, Ohio -- In their first home match of the 2017-2018 season, Denison women's tennis knocked off the No. 21 ranked Flying Dutch of Hope College, 5-4, on Friday evening at the Mitchell Fieldhouse in Granville, Ohio.

The day started strong from the Big Red as No. 1 doubles pairing Lauren Hawley and Emma Alsup defeated Hope's Amanda Bandrowski and Bailey Chorney, 8-0.

The remaining two doubles matches, however, belonged to the Flying Dutch. In No. 2 doubles, Claire Hallock and Taylor LaBarge posted an 8-4 win over DU's Megan Hickey and Ashley Hammons. No. 3 doubles saw the combo of Madeline Hart and Courtney Brown start the match with a 5-2 lead for Denison, but Hope's Liz Pniewski and Natalie Rahrig stormed back to take the match in extras, 9-7.

On the singles courts, the Flying Dutch added to their lead in No. 1 and No. 2 singles. In No. 1 play, Bandrowski defeated Hawley 6-4, 6-3, and then the nation's 30th ranked singles player, Claire Hallock, totaled a 6-2, 6-2 win over Denison's Alsup in No. 2 singles.

Then, in the final four matches, the tide began to turn for the Big Red. Hickey took care of Taylor LaBarge in No. 3 singles, 6-1, 6-2, and Hart posted the same score over Rahrig in No. 4 play. No. 6 singles saw Charlotte Purnode only drop one game the entire match, beating Erin LaBarge, 6-0, 6-1.

With the matches tied at 4-4, No. 5 singles between Hammons and Pniewski would prove to be the deciding factor. After Hammons took the first set, 6-1, Pniewski charged back to win 6-4 and force a third set.

In the final set, Hammons dominated the court as she took the set, 6-1, and secured the home-opening win for DU. Hammons now improves to 3-2 on the season in No. 5 singles play.

"Very proud of how everyone played and contributed to this win tonight," said Denison Head Coach Jamie Scott following the nationally-ranked victory. "Hope is always a tough team to play and each and every one of our players came out ready to play their hardest tonight."

The Big Red will continue their two-match homestead this Saturday, March 3 when they host the Hornets of Kalamazoo College back in the Mitchell Fieldhouse at 2 p.m.