HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. — For Goucher to knock off a Division II opponent and, in the process, clinch a winning record at this year's Spring Tennis Fest today, either Amanda Bercovici (Hackensack, N.J./Bergen Tech) was going to have to beat Kutztown's No. 1 player or Alice Goldstein-Plesser (Durham, N.C./Durham School of the Arts) would have to prevail at fifth singles.
The Gophers were leading the Golden Bears, 4-3, so they needed one more win to complete their mission. Goldstein-Plesser came back from being down a set, but the momentum didn't carry into the super tiebreaker and the freshman bowed to Cynthia Good 6-3, 4-6, 1-0 (10-5).
That left everything riding on the outcome at first singles where Kutztown's Hannah Pipkin took the first set, but Bercovici captured the second set and the super tiebreaker. Her 2-6, 7-5, 1-0 (10-7) triumph sealed a 5-4 victory for head coach Sally Baum's squad.
Only an 8-6 setback at No. 2 kept Goucher from a sweep of the three doubles matches. At No. 1, Bercovici and Alex Walsh (Greens Farm, Conn./Staples) handled Pipkin and Tori Zanders, 8-5; at No. 3, Emily Ruff (Easton, Md./Easton) and Hanora Barron (Auburn, N.Y./Auburn) were 8-5 winners over Good and Erika Diffendall.
The first two singles matches to be completed were No. 6 and No. 4, and by winning both of them, the Golden Bears (3-4) went ahead 3-2. The next two allowed the Gophers to regain the lead: Kelsey Turner (Philadelphia, Pa./Germantown Friends) defeated Alyssa Konas 6-4, 6-2 at No. 3 and Walsh turned back Zanders 6-4, 7-5 at No. 2.
The win over Kutztown was the third in the first four matches on Goucher's Spring Break trip and the Gophers also went for No. 4 later in the day against St. Norbert. Once again it came down to the Gophers needing to prevail in one of the final two singles matches, but this time they couldn't pull it off as the Green Knights (17-2) claimed a 5-4 victory.
The Gophers (6-7) came out of the doubles competition with a 2-1 lead and Bercovici's 6-0, 6-2 win over Nancy Chybowski at first singles made it 3-1.
Kirsten Cianci (Bolton, Conn./Bolton) picked up a point when she handed Ariel Bloniarz a 6-3, 6-1 setback at No. 4, putting Goucher back on top, 4-3, but the Gophers couldn't pick up the match-clinching win they needed at either No. 5 or No. 6, dropping both of them in straight sets.
A Landmark Conference match against Scranton awaits the Gophers after they make their trip back north. The Gophers and Royals are scheduled to clash Sunday at 1 p.m. on Goucher's outdoor courts.