Dover, DE….The University at Albany women’s tennis team suffered a hard fought loss at the hands of the Delaware State Hornets, 4-3. Freshmen Kirsten Scott and Cheryl Kukkonen were double winners, taking both their doubles and singles matches, and Aubrey Brooks added a singles win to account for the Danes three points on the day. Since #1 player Rocio Lopez was out with an injury, the Danes had to adjust their singles and doubles lineups…still they missed good opportunities to get the decisive fourth point.
The crucial doubles point went narrowly to the Hornets. DSU took the #3 doubles 8-1 and UA countered by taking the #1 match 8-3. At #2, Brooks and Sarah Iannone went up 7-5, serving for the match, but were unable to close it out and the Hornet team of Aleksic and Sicic won 4 of the next 6 games to capture the first point.
Now the Danes faced the challenge of taking four of the six singles matches. Even though everyone had to move up one spot in the lineup, this was an achievable challenge. The Hornets stretched their lead to 2-0 by winning the #6 match. Scott steamrolled their #2 player 6-3,6-1 to pull the Danes to 2-1 down. At #1, Gherman dropped her first set then figured out the key to beating her opponent, but fell just short of executing a big turn-around. 3-1 Hornets.
Iannone, in the meantime, was working her own turn-around at #4. Although she dropped the first set 6-0, the Vancouver junior took control of the second set and found herself with two set points at 5-2. However, her Hornet opponent charged back winning 5 straight games to clinch the match for the Hornets. 4-1.
Even though the team match was determined, the two remaining Danes remained undaunted. Both Brooks (#5) and Kukkonen (#3) were up against worthy opponents and found themselves locked in a hard fought third set. In the end it was their patience, perseverance and ability to play steady, consistent tennis while their opponents made the unforced errors that won the third set for both of them 7-5.
The Danes now head to Baltimore to take on conference opponent Maryland-Baltimore County in a 10:00 match, Saturday, April 7.
UALBANY 3 DELAWARE ST. 4
1. Scott-Kukkonen (UA) def. Kozlova-Banas (DSU) 8-3
2. Aleksic-Sicic (DSU) def. Brooks-Iannone (UA) 9-7*
3. Andrade-Andonova (DSU) def. Gherman-White (UA) 8-1
Order of finish: 3,1,2.
*Doubles point clincher.
1. Ksenia Kozlova (DSU) def. Livia Gherman (UA) 6-2,6-4
2. Kirsten Scott (UA) def. Kristen Aleksic (DSU) 6-3,6-1
3. Cheryl Kukkonen (UA) def. Marina Sicic (DSU) 6-3,1-6,7-5
4. Vaija Andonova (DSU) def. Sarah Iannone (UA) 6-0,7-5 $
5. Aubrey Brooks (UA) def. Maja Banas (DSU) 5-7,6-1,7-5
6. Cristine Andrade (DSU) def. Francine White (UA) 6-1,6-1
Order of finish: 6,2,1,4,3,5.
$ Match clincher.
UALBANY RECORDS: 8-10 (overall); 0-3 (AmericaEast)
NEXT MATCH: Saturday, April 7, 10:00 a.m. @ UMBC
NEXT HOME MATCH….SENIOR DAY!!
Thursday, April 12, 1:00 p.m. vs. UMASS at UA Varsity Tennis Courts