GRANVILLE, Ohio -- In a dual that lasted over six hours, including a delay because of lightning that moved the matches from outside to indoors, the No. 29 Lewis & Clark Pioneers overcame losses in the opening set of five of their six singles matches to beat the No. 30 Denison Big Red, 5-4, on Thursday at the DU Outdoor Courts and Mitchell Fieldhouse.
Natalie Kelly defeated Charlotte Purnode, 5-7, 6-2, 6-1, to win the No. 5 singles match and fully complete the comeback.
Lewis & Clark finished the trip to Ohio with 15 match wins and 12 losses against teams ranked in the national top 35. The Pioneers only loss, 5-4 to No. 19 Case Western Reserve on Sunday, was one-loss CWR's closest win to date.
Christine Eliazo and Kacey Incerpi were also singles-match winners, with Eliazo's match lasting the longest of the top four pairings. The junior defeated Megan Hickey, 6-7, 6-2, 6-1, bouncing back from a tight first set to win the last two with just three games allowed. Incerpi beat Ashley Hammons, 2-6, 6-2, 6-3, at No. 4 to give the Pios back the lead.
Lewis & Clark led 2-1 entering singles after Wiktoria Plawska and Eliazo defeated Hickey and Hammons, 8-2, at No. 2, and Kelly paired with Glenna Gee-Taylor for an 8-4 victory against Charlotte Purnode and Olivia Underwood in the third spot.
Despite the lead entering doubles, Lewis & Clark head coach Patrick Dreves said a 25-minute weather delay that moved the match inside the Mitchell Fieldhouse early in the singles round contributed to the numerous first-set losses by the Pioneers.
"All the matches were early, and when we moved indoors, we had to adjust to a different surface," said Dreves. The Big Red were playing on their own courts.
Plawska narrowly lost to Lauren Hawley in a match-up of top-20 singles players. Ranked 13th, Plawska lost the first set, 6-1, before coming back for a 6-2 victory in the second. The final set went 7-5 with No. 17 Hawley getting the victory.
Josie Legarza lost 6-3, 4-6, 6-0 to Emma Alsup at No. 2. Hawley and Alsup paired to beat Incerpi and Legarza, 8-3, in the top singles match.
The match ended up being the final one of Lewis & Clark's Ohio spring break trip after the dual at Carnegie Mellon was cancelled. The Pioneers compete at Pacific on Apr. 8 before the home finale with George Fox on Apr. 14.
Other Northwest Conference Scores - Thursday
Pacific 8, Santa Cruz 1