(Schenectady, NY) UAlbany women’s tennis won the doubles point decisively, then had to battle from behind to take enough singles matches to clinch their first victory in over two weeks, downing a feisty Rhode Island team, 5-2. Last year the Rams prevailed 6-1, so it was a sweet win today for the Danes.
The Danes dominated the #1 and #2 doubles matches, winning both by decisive margins. Rocio Lopez and Kirsten Scott were first off, winning 8-2 at #1. Close behind was the new pairing of Irene Santos and Mireille Hermans who triumphed 8-1 at #2. Dane doubles #3, Sarah Iannone and Fran White, came so close before falling in a tiebreak 8-7 (4).
In singles, Santos and Hermans were separated from the other four matches because of the court assignments. However, they turned out to be the only Danes who won their first sets. On the other side of the club, Scott, Iannone and White all lost their first sets rather quickly and Lopez followed suit by losing an acrimonious, hotly-contested first set. At this point things looked a bit tenuous for the Danes, and it soon got even more so as both White, and seconds later Iannone, lost their singles matches leaving the Danes down 2-1 in total points, and down a set at #1 and #3.
But Lopez and Scott started to take control of their second sets, while Hermans dropped her second set and Santos was embroiled in a tight match as well. The newest Dane, Santos, came from 5-3 down in the first to win 7-5,6-4 and pull the Danes even 2-2. Co-captain Scott did a good job of turning her match around against a style of player that used to give her trouble. But the Canadian sophomore showed good maturity. She played patient, yet aggressive tennis to pull out the second and third sets and put the Danes ahead 3-2.
Hermans picked an opportune time to win her first singles match of the spring season, clinching the match. After winning the first set 6-0, the freshman from the Netherlands fell behind 5-1 in the second set and rolled her ankle in the process. She then fought back to 5-4, but lost the second. She kept her momentum going, however, and took the third handily, 6-2, then celebrated with a big bear hug from assistant coach, Nicole Briceno.
Lopez got the Danes their 5th point with the unusual score of 6-7, 6-0, 6-1. She was embroiled in a heated battle of tennis skills and extremely loud self-exhortation with her Ram opponent. Although Lopez dropped the first set and may have lost the verbal battle as well, she won the war, which is what counts. By taking complete control of the start of the second set, the junior Spaniard broke the spirit of her Ram opponent and rolled her 6-0,6-1 in the second and third sets.
This puts the Danes at 3-5 on the season, and more importantly gives a boost to their confidence. Pulling out a close one like this is just what the doctor ordered. And speaking of doctor’s orders…Cat Crummey recovered from her week-long bout of the flu to come cheer her team to victory accompanied by Cheryl Kukkonen who had her cast removed and hopes to be back playing in 10+ days. Things are coming together for the Danes.
Next up is a rare DOUBLE-HEADER. This coming Saturday they take on crosstown rival SIENA at 9:00 a.m. at Sportime in Schenectady. Then that evening they play their first AmericaEast conference match of the season vs. HARTFORD at Tri-City in Latham at 7:00 p.m.
Coach Graham: “This was a good ‘team’ victory today. We had several people step up in crunch time and pull out crucial wins for the team. There was a point in the match at which we were definitely in a hole with the real possibility of losing this whole thing. But Kirsten, Mireille and Rocio ALL pulled out three set wins! It was an exciting match and a big confidence booster! This will help propel us forward.”
UALBANY 5 RHODE ISLAND 2
1. Lopez-Scott (UA) def. Chernykh-Uy (URI) 8-2
2. Santos-Hermans (UA) def. Asokaraj-Wojciak (URI) 8-1**
3. Sadovnikova-Benoit (URI) def. Iannone-White (UA) 8-7(4)
Order of finish: 1,2,3
**Clinched doubles point for UAlbany
1. Rocio Lopez (UA) def. Galina Chernykh (URI) 6-7(4), 6-0,6-1
2. Irene Santos (UA) def. Kathleen UY (URI) 7-5,6-4
3. Kirsten Scott (UA) def. Nithila Asokaraj (URI) 0-6,6-3,6-4
4. Mireille Hermans (UA) def. Karolina Wojciak (URI) 6-0,4-6,6-2 $$
5. Elizaveta Sadovnikova (URI) def. Sarah Iannone (UA) 6-2,6-4
6. Lauren Benoit (URI) def. Fran White (UA) 6-3,6-2
Order of finish: 6,5,2,3,4,1.
$$=Clinched match for UAlbany.
UALBANY Records: 3-5 (overall); 0-0 (AmericaEast)
- Saturday, March 9, 9:00 a.m. vs. SIENA @ Sportime, Schenectady, NY
- Saturday, March 9, 7:00 p.m. vs. HARTFORD @ Tri-City, Latham, NY