AMHERST, Mass. -- Simmons Tennis defeated Gwynedd-Mercy College 5-2 in the first round of the 2014 Division III NCAA Tennis Championships Thursday afternoon at Amherst College.
The Sharks took a 2-1 lead after doubles play as sophomore Rachael Downey (Groveland, Mass.) teamed up with first year Sofie Epshtein (Newton, Mass.) to defeat Rachel Fein and Taylor Michener 8-6 in the No. 1 position, while sophomore Katie Crowley (Reading, Mass.) and first year Theresa Reinhard (Canton, Ohio) swept Kellie Booth and Jenna Caffarello 8-0 in the No. 3 spot. The Griffins took the No. 2 match as Gabrielle Muller and Kristen Kriebel defeated Meghan Cokely (Haverhill, Mass.) and Caroline Khoury (Portsmouth, Ohio) 8-5.
With the one-point lead heading into singles play, Simmons took the first four matches to secure the victory. Reinhard defeated Fein 6-3, 6-3 at the No. 1 position, Cokely topped Michener 6-1, 6-1 at the No. 2 spot, and Epshtein defeated Muller 6-0, 6-3 at No. 3 singles. Completing the victory for the Sharks was Downey, who defeated Kriebel 6-0, 6-1 at the No. 4 position to advance the Sharks to the NCAA second round for the first time since 2010.
The Sharks (14-5) will face #13 nationally ranked MIT (16-4) on Friday, May 9 at 9:00 AM at Amherst College in the second round of the tournament. The neighbors previously faced off on Apr. 25 in Cambridge, when the Engineers swept the Sharks 9-0.