• Score: #14 Johns Hopkins-5, #6 Tufts-4
• Records: JHU (19-5) • TU (15-7)
• Location: Medford, MA • Bass River Tennis Center
• The Short Story: The 14th-ranked Johns Hopkins women’s tennis team stormed out to a 4-1 lead and then held off a furious comeback by sixth-ranked Tufts to beat the host Jumbos, 5-4, on Sunday afternoon in the NCAA Sweet 16.
How it Happened
• Hopkins won two of three doubles matches to take a 2-1 lead into singles. Tomo Iwasaki and Otilia Popa put the Jumbos on top early with an 8-3 win at second over junior Caroline Greydak and senior Jody Law.
• Freshman Sophia Strickland and junior Kimberly Zou tied the match at one-all as they defeated Conner Calabro and Jacqueline Baum 8-3 at third. At first, seniors Mikey Barthelmass and Ashnaa Rao trailed 5-4 but rallied to win 8-6 versus Katherine Wiley and Lauren Louks and give the Blue Jays a 2-1 lead heading into singles.
• Rao grabbed the first singles point of the match to put Hopkins up 3-1. She was leading, 4-1, at first when Mina Karamercan retired. Greydak followed with a straight sets win over Wiley 6-4, 6-3 at fourth to push the Blue Jays’ lead to 4-1 and move them that much closer to Chattanooga and the NCAA Quarterfinals.
• The Jumbos weren’t letting this one go so easily however. Louks started the home team’s comeback with a 6-4, 6-3 win at second over Law. Calabro then defeated Barthelmass 6-3, 6-2 at sixth and Hopkins’ lead was down to 4-3. Iwaski evened the score as she came from behind to beat Strickland 2-6, 7-6 (4), 6-3 at third.
• With the match tied at four, all the focus shifted to court five where Zou and Alexa Meltzer were locked in a third set. Meltzer won a hard fought first set, 7-6 (7), but Zou responded with a 6-2 win in the second. Zou then jumped out to a 4-1 lead in the deciding set only to see Meltzer win five of the next seven games to force another tiebreaker. Zou won the first five points in the breaker but her opponent won three of the next four to make it 6-3. Zou was able to win the next point and the match to punch the Blue Jays’ ticket to the quarterfinals.
What it Means
• Hopkins improves to 2-1 all-time against Tufts, including 1-1 in NCAA Tournament matches. The Jumbos defeated the Blue Jays, 5-1, in the 2011 NCAA Sweet 16 in Baltimore.
• Under head coach Dave Woodring, now in his seventh season, the Blue Jays are 15-21 against teams ranked in the top-10. Of those 15 wins, Hopkin was the lower ranked team.
• The Blue Jays are now 18-11 all-time in the NCAA Tournament, including 4-6 in NCAA Sweet 16 matches. Hopkins will play in the NCAA Quarterfinals for the fourth time in school history. All four quarterfinal appearances have come since 2012.
For the Record
• Rao won her 52nd career singles match and she is now tied for fourth in program history. She is also tied for 16th in career doubles wins (38) and is ninth in total wins (90). Rao also tied the program record for career singles wins in the NCAAs (5) and she is tied for fourth in total wins in the NCAAs (10).
• Barthelmass now has 44 career doubles wins, which ranks 11th in school history. She has seven career doubles wins in the NCAA Tournament, which ranks fourth in school history.
• Hopkins will face second-ranked Middlebury in the NCAA Quarterfinals on Monday, May 22 in Chattanooga, TN. The match will be either at 8:30 am or 11:30 am at the Champions Tennis Club.