The University at Albany women’s tennis team got a signature win over one of the better teams in the Northeast winning a marathon over the United States Military Academy (aka Army), 4-3, at Sportime in Schenectady, NY.  Rocio Lopez got the clincher downing Erin Colton 6-3 in the third set after Colton managed to fight off 3 match points in the second set.  The Danes captured the doubles point with narrow victories by Lopez and Livia Gherman (#1) and Kirsten Scott- Cheryl Kukkonen (#2).  They followed it up with singles wins by Gherman (#3) and Kukkonen (#4), setting the table for the dramatic win by Lopez.
The doubles matches were all quite evenly contested.  The ‘Dream Team’ (Aubrey Brooks-Sarah Iannone) played their opponents close, but could only get one break of serve as they fell 8-5.  At #2, the freshmen Canadian combo of Scott and Kukkonen got off to another slow start, falling behind 4-1.  Then they charged back winning 5 straight games to go up 6-4 and split the next 4 games to win the match 8-6.  Lopez and Gherman found themselves in a surprisingly close battle against the Taylor sisters, Della and Ella.  The Army duo was a high energy pair, constantly exhorting themselves and each other and using good defense to push the #1 match to the limit before the Dane’s #1 combo closed out the doubles point with their 9-7 win.
In singles, the Danes jumped out to early leads, winning the first set at 5 of 6 singles matches.  Sarah Iannone ran into a very determined Della Taylor and lost
6-1,6-1.  Gherman played a solid, focused match and finished off the number 3 match in straight sets to put her team back in the lead, 2-1.  Kukkonen soon followed suit, not giving her opponent any wiggle room as she won 6-3,6-3, putting the Danes up 3-1.
The next two matches were ones in which the Danes took the first set, but their Army opponents turned the matches around winning rather handily.  Brooks lost at #6 followed by Scott at #2.
So, it all came down to the #1 singles match.  Lopez won the first set and was one point away from the victory three times in the second.  But Colton did a great job of making Lopez play as she used great defense.  She managed to win all three match points, then took the set.  This may have disheartened some, but not the Spaniard who kept battling in the third set.  The match changed at 3-2 Army.  On a point to go up 4-2, Colton drew Lopez into the net and was poised to pass her.  The Dane looked like a sitting duck…an easy pass.  But Lopez pulled a slick move faking one way and staying put. It was enough to distract Colton who dumped her easy pass into the net.  Lopez then picked things up and won four straight games to cap the big team win.
UAlbany now goes to 7-4 on the season and heads to spring break in Boca Raton, FL for two tough outdoor matches and a little beach time.

1. Lopez-Gherman (UA) def. E.&D. Taylor (A) 9-7*
2. Scott-Kukkonen (UA) def. Colton-Paul (A) 8-6
3. Carly Riney-Alyssa Gleason (A) def. Iannone-Brooks (UA) 8-5
Order of finish: 3,2,1.
* Doubles point clincher.
1. Rocio Lopez (UA) def. Erin Colton (A) 6-4,6-7(6),6-3 $
2. Janila Paul (A) def. Kirsten Scott (UA) 3-6,6-3,6-1
3. Livia Gherman (UA) def. Margaret Iliev (A) 6-4,6-2
4. Cheryl Kukkonen (UA) def. Natalie Allen (A) 6-3,6-3
5. Della Taylor (A) def. Sarah Iannone (UA) 6-1,6-1
6. Maya Parker (A) def. Aubrey Brooks (UA) 1-6,6-2,6-3
Order of finish: 5,3,4,6,2,1
$Match clincher.
UALBANY RECORDS: 7-4 (overall); 0-2 (AmericaEast)
  • Tues., March 13, 2:00 p.m. vs. FLORIDA ATLANTIC @ Patch Reef Park Tennis Center, Boca Raton, FL
  • Thurs., March 15, 2:00 p.m. vs. CLEVELAND ST. @ Patch Reef Park.
  • Friday, March 23, 2:00 p.m. vs. ST. BONAVENTURE @ UALBANY VARSITY COURTS (outdoors) or UALBANY Bubble (if inclement weather)

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