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Knights take down No. 36 UW-Whitewater, advance to NCAA Championships Regional Final

May 11, 2019 at 5:34 pm
Jeanny Zhang
Jeanny Zhang
Photo: UWW Athletics


WHITEWATER, Wis. – The No. 27-ranked Carleton College women’s tennis team punched its ticket to the NCAA Championships Regional Final with a 5-2 victory over host and No. 36-ranked UW-Whitewater on Saturday.

The Knights (20-2) are in the Sweet Sixteen for the first time since 1996, when the bracket for the national tournament included only 14 teams. This year’s draw includes 49 squads. Carleton—which has reached 20 victories for the second time in recorded team history—will face No. 12-ranked University of Chicago on Sunday afternoon with a berth in the national quarterfinals at stake.

First-year Jeanny Zhang (Guangzhou, China/Dwight School) played a huge role in knocking off the Warhawks on Saturday, teaming with Faith Yim (So./Orange, Calif./Villa Park) for a narrow victory in doubles before fighting off five match points to claim the clinching team point in her singles match.

The day began on the doubles courts were UW-Whitewater (13-12) claimed the first team point with an 8-1 triumph at the third spot.

Kristina Conrad (Sr./Plymouth, Minn./Robbinsdale Armstrong) and Madeline Prins (Jr./Pacific Palisades, Calif./Palisades Charter) pulled Carleton even with an 8-3 victory over the Warhawks’ nationally-ranked duo of Gabi Kitchell and Julie Martin.

Zhang and Yim then prevailed in a tight tussle at second doubles by an 8-6 margin, avenging their earlier season tiebreaker loss to the same duo.

In singles, Kitchell showed why she is headed to the NCAA Singles Championships later this month as she quickly secured a straight-sets win atop the singles lineup, tying the match at 2-2.

Prins and Conrad moved the Knights back in front as they closed out their straight-set victories at the fourth and third spots, respectively. Prins improved to 19-2 on the year with her 6-2, 6-4 triumph, and Conrad notched her ninth consecutive victory, this one by a convincing 6-1, 6-1 margin.

Trailing 4-2, UW-Whitewater was still in the match after winning the opening set at second, fifth, and sixth singles.

Zhang lost the first set at second singles 6-3 and trailed 6-5 in the second set before mounting her comeback. She won the next game to force a tiebreaker, during which trailed 6-2 before rallying to knot things up at 6-6. Her opponent won the next point, giving Martin her fifth match point, but Zhang refused to lose and claimed the final three points to take the tiebreaker and send the match to a third set. The momentum was clearly in Zhang’s corner now, and she raced to a 6-1 victory that closed out the match for the Knights.

Faith Yim was on the cusp of victory herself as she erased her deficit and led 4-6, 7-5, 5-2 at fifth singles when play was halted. Elizabeth Yim (So./Orange, Calif./Villa Park) lost the first set 6-4 but took the second by a 6-2 tally, preparing her sixth singles match to go the distance.

Carleton will face a University of Chicago (15-5) squad that has lost five matches this season, all of them to teams ranked among the nation’s top 10 teams. Four of those defeats have come to teams currently ranked in the top-5. The match begins at 12:00 p.m.

#27 Carleton College 5, #36 Wis.-Whitewater 2

Singles competition

1. #39 Gabi Kitchell (UWW-W) def. Sonya Romanenko (CAR) 6-0, 6-3

2. Jeanny Zhang (CAR) def. Julie Martin (UWW-W) 3-6, 7-6 (9-7), 6-1

3. Kristina Conrad (CAR) def. Paige Nierman (UWW-W) 6-1, 6-1

4. Madeline Prins (CAR) def. Sabrina Palavra (UWW-W) 6-2, 6-4

5. Elise Ha (UWW-W) vs. Faith Yim (CAR) 6-4, 5-7, 2-5, unfinished

6. Jessica Minkov (UWW-W) vs. Elizabeth Yim (CAR) 6-4, 2-6, unfinished

Doubles competition

1. #22 Madeline Prins/Kristina Conrad (CAR) def. #18 Gabi Kitchell/Julie Martin (UWW-W) 8-3

2. Jeanny Zhang/Faith Yim (CAR) def. Sabrina Palavra/Olivia Kraft (UWW-W) 8-6

3. Paige Nierman/Molly Rueth (UWW-W) def. Elizabeth Yim/Sonya Romanenko (CAR) 8-1


1995 (8th place in 14-team bracket)

First Round — defeated Pomona-Pitzer, 5-4

Second Round — lost to Kenyon College, 6-3

Backdraw — lost to Amherst College, 6-3

Backdraw — lost to Gustavus Adolphus College, 9-0

1996 (10th place in 14-team bracket)

First Round — lost to UC-San Diego, 5-1

Backdraw — defeated Claremont-Mudd-Scripps, 5-4

Backdraw — defeated Rhodes College, 5-2

2005 (26-team bracket)

First Round — lost to Carthage College, 5-1

2012 (49-team bracket)

First Round — defeated Grinnell College, 5-0

Second Round — lost to University of Chicago, 5-0

2013 (50-team bracket)

First Round — defeated Grinnell College, 5-1

Second Round — lost to UW-Whitewater, 5-3

2014 (50-team bracket)

First Round — defeated Westminster College (Pa.), 5-0

Second Round — lost to University of Chicago, 5-2

2019 (49-team bracket)

First Round — defeated Edgewood College, 5-0

Second Round — defeated UW-Whitewater, 5-2