Women's Tennis Downs Wisconsin-Whitewater For Berth In NCAA Regional Final

Senior captain Nancy Benda jubilantly greeted her teammate with a hug after Natalie Rahrig clinched the fifth and decisive point for the Hope College women's tennis team.

The Flying Dutch served up a 5-3 win at Wisconsin-Whitewater in the second round of the NCAA Division III Tournament and beat an opponent that ended their season the past two years.

No. 21st-ranked Hope (21-3 overall) advanced to Friday's regional final against No. 11 Washington-St. Louis, a 5-0 win against John Carroll, Ohio on Friday.

This will be the second meeting this season between Washington-St. Louis and Hope. The Flying Dutch lost 6-3 at the Midwest Invitational last month in Madison, Wisconsin.

It is the first regional final for the Flying Dutch since the NCAA added that level to the national tournament format.

"It all happened so quickly with the singles," interim head coach Nate Price said of decisive results. "It was a really good effort. Everyone stayed in the moment."

Hope overcame a 2-1 deficit after doubles with wins in succession at No. 2, No. 3, No. 5 and No. 6 singles.

Rahrig defeated Brittany Goebel 6-3, 6-2 at No. 6 singles. The junior from Fort Wayne, Indiana (Bishop Luers) improved to 20-5 the season — making her the fourth Flying Dutch player with at least 20 singles wins this season.

Rahrig and Benda at No. 1 singles were left on the court to decide the outcome after Hope picked up three points within minutes of each other.

Benda, the senior from Birmingham, Michigan (Seaholm) stopped playing after Rahrig won. Benda trailed 7-5, 4-3.

"Natalie did a real good job holding her position on the court, making sure she stepped into a lot of her shots," Price said. "The results came from how she executed her plan."

At No. 2 singles, freshman Amanda Bandrowski of Traverse City, Michigan (St. Francis) downed Bridgid McGuire 6-2, 6-2. Bandrowski set a school record for singles wins after raising her overall record to 26-1.

At No. 3 singles, freshman Claire Hallock of Lakeland, Florida (Harrison Center) beat Alexandra Talyansky 6-2, 6-4. Hallock is now 24-2 on the season.

At No. 5 singles, freshman Quincey Glupker of Grandville, Michigan (Grandville) topped Alicia Beck 6-1, 6-3. Glupker is on the verge of 20 singles wins with a 19-5 overall record.

Hallock and senior Christin Drozd earned a point for Hope with an 8-4 win at No. 3 doubles against Beck and Rachel Siemon.

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