Women’s Tennis To Face 16th-Ranked Tufts In NCAA First Round On Friday

Sophomore Emily Walsh leads the women's tennis team into the NCAA Tournament after earning Landmark Conference playoff MVP honors.
Sophomore Emily Walsh leads the women's tennis team into the NCAA Tournament after earning Landmark Conference playoff MVP honors.

The University of Scranton women’s tennis team will make its third straight NCAA Tournament appearance on Friday, May 9, when the Royals take on 16th-ranked Tufts University at Williams College in Williamstown, Mass. Match time will be announced on Tuesday.

The Royals (11-6) enter the NCAA Tournament having won six straight matches and 10 of their last 11, including two Landmark Conference playoff matches en route to their third straight conference crown. Scranton won the title on Sunday, April 20, with a 5-3 victory over Catholic at Royal Courts. Sophomore Emily Walsh (Scranton, Pa./Scranton Prep) was named playoff most valuable player after going 4-0 in singles and doubles in the two playoff matches.

Walsh, who was a first-team all-Landmark Conference selection in singles, leads the Royals with a perfect 13-0 record in singles play while playing anywhere from No. 1 through 4. She has not lost a set in singles play all season, and posted seven victories in which she lost two or fewer games. Walsh is also 10-5 in doubles play this season.

Juniors Megan Azzalina (Easton, Pa./Notre Dame) and Nicole Mahaffey (Harrisburg, Pa./Trinity) were named second-team all-conference in singles. Azzalina is 12-3 while splitting time between No. 2, 3 and 4 in the singles lineup. She also has an 11-5 doubles record. Mahaffey is 12-1 in singles play while playing No. 3, 4 or 5 in the lineup, and also has an 8-6 doubles record.

The Royals' lineup also includes seniors Stephanie Boccuzzi (Doylestown, Pa./Central Bucks East) and Devon Cohen (Ambler, Pa./Hatboro-Horsham), and junior Lisa-Marie Lanciotti (Nortport, N.Y./Kings Park).

Last season, Scranton posted its first-ever NCAA Tournament victory when it defeated LaRoche College, 5-0, in the first round. The Royals lost to nationally ranked Johns Hopkins, 5-0, in the second round. In 2012, the Royals made their first NCAA Tournament appearance, losing to Ithaca, 5-4.

Tufts (9-9) enters the tournament coming off a first-round loss to 10th-ranked Middlebury in the New England Small College Athletic Conference. The Jumbos finished 5-4 in regular season play in the NESCAC, which boasts six teams in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association Top 25, including four teams in the top 10.

The winner of Friday's first-round match will advance to the second round to take on 14th-ranked Skidmore (17-3) on Saturday, May 10.

Ithaca (13-6) takes on Staten Island (17-3) in Friday's other first-round game at Williams. The winner of that match advances to take on the host and third-ranked Ephs (19-2) in a second-round game the following day.

For the complete NCAA Division III women's tennis tournament bracket, click here.