The team of senior Alex Marcell and first-year Taylor Hawkins advanced to the final round of the Intercollegiate Tennis Association Central Regional Championship in St. Louis, Mo. In addition, Marcell reached the championship match of the singles draw.
Marcell and Hawkins were selected as the top seed at the ITA regional which earned them a bye in the round of 64. The match off worked in the DU tandem's favor as they cruised to an 8-2 decision against Ohio Northern's Rachael Miller and Meghan Letizia in the second round. Marcell and Hawkins earned a quarterfinal slot with an 8-6 win over Taylor Jordan and Julie Stroyne from Otterbein.
In the round of eight, the Big Red team took on eighth-seeded Hanna Newstadt and Theresa Petraksova from Washington University. After a back-and-forth battle, Marcell and Hawkins edged out a 9-8 decision. Sunday's semifinal matchup was another tightly contested battle as the Denison duo took on DePauw's Caroline Emhardt and Maggie MacPhail, the No. 3 seed. For the second-straight match, Marcell and Hawkins grinded out a 9-8 victory en route to earning a berth in the championship match.
The Big Red tandem will take on another DePauw team in fourth-seeded Meg Crowley and Claire Marshall. Monday's final is slated to begin at 12 p.m. CDT at the Dwight Davis Tennis Center.
In singles action, Denison had three players seeded in the top-15 spots, two of which earned a berth in the semifinals. Marcell and first-year Lauren Smith were seeded fifth and 14th, respectively, in the draw. After successful runs in the lower half of the bracket, the Denison teammates met in one of the semifinal matches. In their final four matchup, the veteran topped the rookie via 6-0, 6-4 scores. With the win, the DU senior advances to Monday's championship match against eighth-seeded Megan Tang of Chicago. The championship match is scheduled for 9 a.m. CDT at the Dwight Davis Tennis Center.
Marcell won her first five matches in straight sets, including two shutout victories over Kalamazoo's Katie Clark and Kenyon's Lydia Winkler in the first and third rounds. The senior knocked off ninth-seeded Kim Sawyer from Augustana (6-2, 6-2) in the fourth round, while a 6-3, 6-2 win over Chicago's Linden Li, the No. 4 seed, punched her ticket to the final four.
Smith's run included straight-set wins over ONU's Christie Gales (6-1, 6-1) and Case Western Reserve's Kat Evers (6-0, 6-1) in the opening rounds. The DU rookie earned a three-set win over Chicago's Helen Sdvozhkov (7-5, 4-6, 6-2) in the third round. In the round of 16, Smith was matched up with second-seeded Kate Klein from Washington University. After taking the opening set 6-3, the first-year player grinded out a 7-6 win in the second set. Smith secured her place in the semifinals with a three-set win over Chicago's Kelsey McGillis (6-7, 6-3, 6-2).
Hawkins, the No. 3 seed, racked up straight-set victories in each of her first four matches. The rookie eliminated ONU's Kelsie Wurm (6-0, 6-0), Kaitline Pickrel of DePauw (6-3. 6-2), Illinois Wesleyan's Andrea Krewin (6-1, 6-0) and WashU's Paige Madara (6-2, 6-1) on her way to the quarterfinals. In her round of eight match, the rookie suffered a 6-3, 6-2 setback to the Maroons' Tang.