The College of Staten Island women’s tennis program saw their run for a CUNYAC Postseason Championship end at the hands of No. 7 Baruch College, 5-0, in a match played earlier this afternoon at the CSI Tennis Center. The Dolphins’ season closes with an 11-6 record after having earned the tournament’s No. 2 seeding, while the Bearcats advance to the semifinals with a 6-9 mark.
The Dolphins knew they would have their work cut out for them, facing a Baruch lineup that certainly changed complexion from the teams’ last meeting on September 14. The Bearcats powered to a 3-0 lead after doubles, aided by four players who did not play in the earlier meeting, a 7-2 CSI win. Kristine Karujina, playing in only her sixth match of the season, teamed with Viktoriya Morozova to power through CSI’s Gabriella Villarruel and Ilona Stoyko, 8-1. Over at the No. 2 position, BC’s Angelina Herman, playing in only her third match of the season, teamed with Alina Bero to get through CSI’s Tara Colao and Qing Li, 8-3. In the most contested doubles match, CSI’s team of Yelena Rasporskaya and Justine Kuna battled but fell just short to Anna Komar and Natasha Gregorio, 8-6.
The complete Baruch lineup proved to be the key for the Bearcats, as they were able to rip off two wins in singles before CSI was able to get on the board. Karujina got past Villarruel in the No. 1 position, 6-0, 6-0, while over at No. 3, Morozova got past CSI’s Nancy Almazo, 6-0, 6-1.
CSI wasn’t without its highlights though, as the Dolphins were in key positions at other flights. At the time of the match ending, CSI held leads in three of the four remaining singles flights. Li was up 6-2, 1-0, on Komar before match interruption, while at No. 5, Rasporskaya held a 6-0, 1-2, lead over Bero. CSI’s Kuna held a modest, 4-3, lead in the first set over Marianna Hogan.
The loss was enough to disappoint CSI Head Coach Paul Ricciardi, whose team was a favorite in the eight-team tournament.
“Obviously, we’re disappointed,” he said. “We didn’t reach our goals this season, but I’m proud of our team, our ability to stay together, and our growth. I think our record reflected that.”
The coach seemed unfazed by the vast lineup improvement of Baruch, who battled through a dubious 4-5 CUNYAC campaign.
“The difference was night and day,” Ricciardi said in reference to the improved Baruch team. “It’s disheartening to see a team as powerful as that not have a better showing in the regular season. We lost to a very good team today.”
According to the coach, the loss doesn’t faze his view of the Dolphins and the season they had.
“I couldn’t be prouder of our team. I’m disappointed that we won’t get the experience of advancing further in the tournament but there’s no question that we came together, improved over the year, and taking the loss hard proves that we care for each other and our season. This team was a special one.”
Although the fall season is over for the Dolphins, CSI will still play in the spring during their non-traditional segment. The team intends to travel to Florida come late-March for more practice and play.
“We still have a lot to look forward to,” said Ricciardi.