GANSEVOORT, N.Y. – The Wells College women's tennis team will compete at the 2014 North Eastern Athletic Conference Women's Tennis West Division Tournament this week after finishing 5-1 within league play across the spring schedule of matches. The two day event will begin this Thursday, Apr. 24 at the Birchwood Tennis Club in Clarks Summit, Pa.
Wells, who enters the team tournament as the second seed, will face-off against the third seeded Storm of Keuka College at 9:00 a.m. on Thursday. The Storm picked up an 8-1 victory over Wells on Thursday, Sept. 26, 2013 but Wells was able to get revenge via a 6-3 win against Keuka on Wednesday, Apr. 16 of this year. In all-time team history, Wells is 10-8 against Keuka dating back to their first-ever meeting on Apr. 28, 1977.
The Express have won 16-of-19 regular season NEAC matches dating back to the 2010-11 women's tennis season and have qualified for the West Division championship match in each of the prior two years. In both of those title matches, Wells came out on the losing end of hotly-contested matches to Penn St.-Berks and will look to make a similar run for the third straight year.
In a battle of undefeated teams, Penn St.-Abington defeated Wells by an 8-1 margin on Saturday, Apr. 19 to claim the top seed in the team tournament. The Express enter play on Thursday ranked second, followed by Keuka and Penn St.-Berks at third and fourth, respectively. The winner of the Wells and Keuka matchup will battle one of the Nittany Lion teams for the league's team title.
The conference's individual tournament will take place on Friday at 8:00 a.m. The individual matches will consist of the top-four seeded student-athletes for first through sixth singles and first through third doubles, where each flight will see the No. 1 seed take on the No. 4 seed and the No. 2 seed take on the No. 3 seed. The winners will move on to the championship round, while those that lose will be placed into a consolation bracket.
Wells boasts two top-seeded single players as sophomores Brooke Benedetto (Williamstown, N.Y.) and Kevisha Hunt (Germantown, Md.) enter the individual portion of the tournament at No. 4 and No. 5 singles, respectively, after posting strong records against the NEAC teams during the regular season of play.
Benedetto posted a six match winning streak at No. 4 singles before ultimately falling to Alexandra Murionka in a thrilling three set match on Apr. 19 versus Penn St.-Abington. Furthermore, Benedetto and doubles partner Miku Kugo (Toyota, Aichi, Japan) also racked up a six match winning streak before losing to the Penn St.-Abington duo. Hunt was 4-2 in league play this year and partnered with Mizuki Furuta (Bunkyo, Tokyo, Japan) at No. 3 doubles to accumulated a 5-1 NEAC record.
At No. 1 singles, senior captain Brittany Vanno (Whitesboro, N.Y.) is the third-ranked NEAC player entering play on Friday. Kugo enters as the fourth seeded player at No. 2 singles while Furuta rounds out the individuals from Wells at No. 6 singles in the second slot. Vanno and her No. 1 doubles partner, sophomore Taryn Heath (Truxton, N.Y.), are seeded third while Benedetto and Kugo are ranked second at No. 2 doubles. Furuta and Hunt are seeded second at No. 3 doubles.
Wells has boasted an individual NEAC championship in all but No. 1 singles. Most recently, Ayumi Takeuchi won the league's Rookie of the Year honors after claiming the No. 3 singles championship in 2013. Takeuchi went on to partner with Caitlyn Copfer '13 to claim the No. 1 doubles title in the individual portion of the tournament.