It took a spirited, come-from-behind game, but the College of Staten Island women’s tennis team was able to survive visiting York College, 6-3, in a CUNYAC affair played earlier this afternoon at the CSI Tennis Center.  The Dolphins upped their overall mark to 5-6 and 5-2 in CUNY, while the Cardinals saw their records dip to 7-6, 4-2, respectively.

CSI was tested from the get-go, as sporting an almost entirely new look at doubles, CSI lost two out of three flights.  Ilona Stoyko teammed with Jean Baak in the second spot and took care of YC’s Valerie Roland and Nina Olladikanku, 8-5, but CSI’s other two pairs weren’t as fortunate.  At the No. 1 spot, CSI’s Alena Vedeneeva and Demi-Jean Martorano fell to YC’s Nicole Jones and Amba Chanoine, 8-4, and at No. 3 Anna Ko and Tenzin Kunchok knocked off CSI’s Sophia Varriano and Katie Masterson, 8-6.

Head Coach Paul Ricciardi was not happy with his team’s play after doubles, but was amazed at what happened next. 

“It was probably the most uninspired we looked after doubles that I have ever seen, but we sure picked it up in singles.  The women responded by playing the best I ever seen them,” he said.  “We just completely woke up and started playing the way I know we can.”

The results followed suit, with CSI taking five of six singles flights.  CSI got off to a good start winning quickly at two flights.  No. 1 Vedeneeva toppled Roland 6-2, 6-1, and over at No. 4, Martorano bounced Olladikankwu, 6-1, 6-4.  York, however, evened things up, when at No. 6 Kunchok score a three-set winner over Masterson, 4-6, 6-3, 6-1.  That set the stage for the rest of the CSI netters and they all came through in thrilling style.  

First, Stoyko at No. 2 got by Jones, 6-4, 6-3, and then, needing a clincher, both Varriano at No. 3 and Jean Baak at No. 5 won three-set marathons almost at the same time.  Varriano defeated Chanoine, 3-6, 6-0, 7-6 (7-5), while Baak got past Ko, 6-2, 5-7, 7-5.  The match took a hefty 4:45 to complete.

“The team showed me a lot today,” said Ricciardi.  “We could have folded very easily.  We’ve been playing a lot of tennis lately and we were all tired and being pushed by a good team.  Instead, we fought back hard, really wanted the win, and took it.”

CSI will next play Monday on the road against non-conference FDU-Florham at 3pm.