UAlbany (SUNY) dropped their conference-opening match to the Binghamton (SUNY) in a hard-fought battle fiercely contested at every position. The Bearcats garnered the doubles point by sweeping all three matches, the first team this season to beat the Danes’ #3 combo of Aubrey Brooks-Sarah Iannone. Due to injury and sickness, BU had to default at #6 singles. So the match turned into the best of five singles matches. Bearcat straight set wins at #1 and #2 put the Danes in the same position as in the previous match vs. Sacred Heart…i.e., having to win ALL remaining singles matches.
As has happened in every match this spring, Kirsten Scott led the way by getting the first singles point for UA. The Calgary, Alberta freshman remained undefeated on the spring season (5-0) with a three-set win that featured laser-speed bullets by the Dane…too much for her opponent in the 6-1 third set. She was soon followed in the victory circle by doubles partner and roommate, Cheryl Kukkonen. The Toronto-area freshman turned in a solid performance. Although she had lost three very close matches previously, and then dropped the second set of this match, Kukkonen showed real mental toughness and never let her Bearcat opponent get a toehold in the third as she bageled her.
So, for the second straight match, the team outcome rested with Iannone at #5 singles. This time there were no cramps to fight off. But instead she faced a powerhouse of energy and optimism, Missy Edelblum, whose heart and attitude far outweighed her diminutive stature. After narrowly dropping the first set, Iannone pulled out a close second set tiebreaker to force a third set for the match. Edelblum was undaunted. She sprinted to a 5-0 lead only to see Iannone answer by taking the next game and then fight off 4 match points. Finally, on her fifth match point, the Bearcat prevailed with a let-cord winner sending the Danes to their first AmericaEast loss of the year.
One of the Danes’ goals is to move up in the conference and have a shot to win the title. With this hard fought performance the Danes sent a message that they are closing the gap with other teams who used to be far ahead of them, like Binghamton. Hopefully UA will have a chance to play them again in the conference tournament.
The Danes won’t have to wait long before we get another AmericaEast conference test…a week from today vs. STONY BROOK at Lehigh University. But FIRST come two out-of-conference matches, both at Tri-City Tennis and Fitness in Latham, NY. Today it is crosstown rival SIENA at 6:30. Then Wed. we take on COLGATE at 1:00.
ADMISSION IS FREE!!! HOPE TO SEE YOU THERE!!!!
UALBANY 3 BINGHAMTON 4
1. Santos-Edelblum (B) def. Gherman-Lopez (UA) 9-7
2. Bykovskaya-Medianik (B) def. Kukkonen-Scott (UA) 8-5*
3. Leibewicz-Fridman (B) def. Brooks-Iannone (UA) 8-5
Order of finish: 3,2,1.
*Doubles point clincher.
1. Jill Santos (B) def. Rocio Lopez (UA) 7-5,6-3
2. Jen Fridman (B) def. Livia Gherman (UA) 6-3,6-3
3. Kirsten Scott (UA) def. Marina Bykovskaya (B) 6-4,3-6,6-1
4. Cheryl Kukkonen (UA) def. Katya Medianik (B) 6-4,2-6,6-0
5. Missy Edelblum (B) def. Sarah Iannone (UA) 6-4,6-7(5),6-1 $
6. Aubrey Brooks (UA) won by default; no opponent listed.
Order of finish: 6,2,1,3,4,5.
$ Match clinching point.
UALBANY Records: 3-2 (regular season); 0-1 (AmericaEast)
NEXT MATCHES in ALBANY:
- TODAY (Sat., Feb. 18), 6:30pm vs. SIENA at Tri-City Tennis and Fitness, Latham, NY
- WED., Feb. 22, 1:00 p.m. vs. COLGATE at Tri-City Tennis and Fitness.