DANES DROP CLOSE ONE TO RED FOXES, 4-3


The University at Albany women’s tennis team came up just short against defending MAAC champ, Marist, in Poughkeepsie losing 4-3.  The Danes dropped all three doubles matches 8-6 and could only manage three singles wins as the Foxes squeaked this one out.  Highlighting the day for the Danes was freshman Francine White who in her very first college match came away with a win at #6 singles, a victory which at the time seemed like the key to a Dane comeback.
The Danes got off to a slow start in all their doubles matches.  White, paired with Sarah Iannone at #3, and the two mounted a good comeback from 4-0 down to make a match of it before losing 8-6.  At #1, Rocio Lopez and Livia Gherman were riding a six match winning streak, but dug themselves a huge hole.  Down 7-3 they came back to 7-6, at which point Erin McCarthy’s service game was just too much to overcome.  And the Canadian frosh, Kirsten Scott and Cheryl Kukkonen, couldn’t quite get it done either, though they battled a full half hour longer than either of the other teams to reach the same 8-6 conclusion.
Once again the Danes needed four singles matches.  What seemed like a very do-able task took a big hit when Kukkonen went down with an ankle sprain after only one point and had to be carried off the court by assistant coach Lauren (Holzie) Holzberg.  Now the Danes needed to win four of the five remaining, and one of them was playing her first college varsity match.  No problem!  White showed great poise and strategy.  She managed to keep more balls in the court than her opponent as she pulled out a 6-4,6-3 victory. Now the Danes were on the scoreboard, down 2-1.
Playing next to White, Iannone nearly took the first set, but dropped a close first set tiebreaker, 7-5.  Her opponent gained confidence with that narrow win and marched to a quick 6-1 second set victory.  3-1, Foxes.  Now the Danes needed to sweep the remaining singles.  Lopez did her part at #1.  She pulled out a hard fought first set, 7-5, then cruised to the second set 6-1 for her fifth consecutive singles win.  Her opponent was a hard-hitting baseliner, but Lopez used her guile in moving her around, opening the court and often finishing points at the net.  3-2 Foxes.
At #2, Gherman dropped the first set, but totally dominated the second and appeared poised to take the match.  But her opponent got a bit tougher in the third set and won going away, 6-1, to clinch the match for the Foxes.
The last bright spot on the day was Scott at #3.  After starting the season 7-0 in the #4, #3, and then #2 spots playing indoors, the hard-hitting freshman has gone 1-6, including dropping her last 5 straight, 4 of them outdoors.  But today she did a great job of pulling out a tough match outdoors.  After cruising to the first set 6-1, Scott dropped the second 6-3 and went down 2-1, 40-15 in the third.  In that critical juncture she battled hard and finally broke serve to even the third set, then won 4 of the next 5 games to take the match and get back on the winning track.  Welcome back!!
So, although it was a tough loss for the ‘good guys’, it was highlighted by singles wins by two freshmen and one sophomore, and a HUGE pressure-performance by White in her first college match!!
The Danes now return to campus to take on BRYANT this Saturday at 1pm at the UA Varsity Courts.  Then the next day they head to Boston to challenge the reigning AmericaEast champs, BOSTON UNIVERSITY, in the Battle of the Dogs (Danes vs. Terriers, that is).

UALBANY 3    MARIST  4


Doubles:
1. Raynor-McCarthy (M) def. Lopez-Gherman (UA)  8-6*
2. Sun-Campbell (M) def. Scott-Kukkonen (UA)  8-6
3. Tahir-Lewis (M) def. Iannone-White (UA)  8-6
Order of finish: 3,1,2.
*Doubles point clincher.
Singles:
1. Rocio Lopez (UA) def. Kelsey Raynor (M) 7-5,6-1
2. Erin McCarthy (M) def. Livia Gherman (UA) 6-2,1-6,6-1$
3. Kirsten Scott (UA) def. Joana Sun (M) 6-1,3-6,6-3
4. Marielle Campbell def. Cheryl Kukkonen (UA) 0-0 (retired, injury)
5. Sabrina Tahir (M) def. Sarah Iannone (UA) 7-6(5), 6-1
6. Francine White (UA) def. Tessa Lewis (M) 6-4,6-3
Order of finish: 4,6,5,1,2,3.
$Match clincher.
UALBANY RECORDS: 7-8 (overall); 0-2 (AmericaEast)
NEXT MATCH: Saturday, March 30, 1:00 p.m. vs. BRYANT at UA Varsity Courts

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