ROME, Ga. - Freshmen Kate Daugherty and Esther Bowers went toe-to-toe with the top-ranked doubles team in the nation and defending NCAA Champions Eudice Chong and Victoria Yu of Wesleyan, eventually falling to the duo in straight sets at the Oracle Cup on Friday afternoon.
Formerly known as the Small College Nationals, the ITA Oracle Cup has history dating back to 1986, and it is the only singles and doubles national championship event for the Division II and NAIA levels. This year, more than 8,000 players took part in a total of 60 regional tournaments to gain entry into the ITA Oracle Cup field.
The duo of Daugherty fell behind 3-1 early on as the defending champs broke serve. They were able to break a second serve in the first set as they picked up a 6-2 win in the first set.
Daugherty and Bowers were not going to go away quietly, charging out to a 3-0 lead in the second set, but the top ranked duo of Chong and Yu responded with six straight games to close the match with a 6-2, 6-3 victory.
"Kate and Esther got a taste of national championship level doubles and held their own," said Head Coach Bill Porter "Wesleyan was so good it was almost unfair at times but very happy that we competed right with them throughout the match."
Earlier that morning in singles action, Daugherty took on Anna Maria Buraya of NYU in the consolation portion on the Oracle Cup. Early in the match, both exchanged taking serve before battling back-and-forth to a 5-5 tie. From there, Daugherty was able to the set, winning the final two games for a 7-5 victory.
In the second set, Buraya raced out to a 5-3 lead as she looked to force a third set, but Daugherty remained composed and fired off four straight games to take the match in straight sets, 7-5, 7-5.
"Kate really held it together emotionally today and did a stellar job of battling through the emotions of the match which ultimately ended up being the difference in the match," said Porter.
The Oracle Cup will conclude tomorrow beginning at 10:30 AM ET when Daugherty will take on Briana Hartmann of Gustavus Adolphus in the 5th place match. The duo of Daugherty and Bowers move on to the 3rd place match, where they will take on No. 2 seed Emily Chen and Maryann Zhao of Pomona-Pitzer at 3:00 PM.