The first-ver appearance at the NCAA Division II Midwest Regional Tournament ended in heartbreaking fashion for the Hillsdale College women's tennis team.
The Chargers, the tournament's No. 6 seed, lost 5-3 to No. 3-seed University of Missouri-St. Louis in a regional match held at Grandville Middle School and hosted by Grand Valley State University. Hillsdale's season ends with a 14-5 record.
The match started out in a very good way for Hillsdale as it took a 2-1 lead following doubles play. Katie Bell and Corinne Prost were 8-6 winners at No. 2 doubles. The No. 3 doubles team of Kamryn Matthews and Madeline Bissett played their final match of the season together winning in dramatic fashion in a 9-8 tiebreaker. Matthews and Bissett won the tiebreaking set 7-2, giving the Chargers their second doubles win.
Matthews would coast to a win in her match at No. 5 singles, 6-0, 6-1, briefly giving Hillsdale a 3-1 lead. The win was significant for many reasons. It was Hillsdale's first-ever NCAA regional singles win, and it was Matthews' 30th total win of the season, tying a single-season school record. She now shares the mark for most singles and doubles wins in a season with Morgan Delp, who also won 30 in 2012.
Matthews finished the season with a 30-6 overall record, making her .833 winning percentage the highest in a single season in school history, since the program was revived for the 2011-12 season.
UMSL would win matches at No. 1 singles, No. 2 singles and No. 4 singles, while Bell fought hard, but ultimately lost a three-set decision at No. 3 singles. The No. 6 singles match was not completed because UMSL had clinched the victory before that match could be finished.
The 2017-18 season was an historic one for this team. Hillsdale won 10 matches in a row to end the pre-regional season, culminating in the G-MAC Tournament championship last weekend in Kentucky. That, along with its berth in the NCAA Tournament represent new ground for this team, who doesn't lose a single player to graduation.