The College of Staten Island women’s tennis team saw their nine-game win streak come to an end tonight, falling to top-seeded Hunter College in the 2012 CUNYAC Postseason Championship Final at the National Tennis Center in Flushing, New York, by a 5-1 count. The Dolphins finalized their season with a record of 12-5, while Hunter, winners of 13-straight CUNYAC Championships improved to 12-3.
Clinching the win after a trio of singles wins, the Hawks got off to a 2-1 lead after doubles thanks to some strong play. In the top flight the Hunter tandem of Jane Selegean and Shena Joseph proved too strong for CSI’s duo of Ilona Stoyko and Jean Baak, winning 8-2. But, just as soon as Hunter scored the win at No. 1, CSI answered back at No. 2 doubles, as the team of Sabrina Bragerton-Nasert and Mediha Mulla pounced on Caroline Kaleda and Beth Chapnick, by an 8-0 count. In an important No. 3 flight, CSI fought valiantly by the team on Jacqueline Jamaleddine and Jessica Barabatko were dismissed by HC’s Stephanie Ahwireng and Angelina Usherenko, 8-3.
With momentum on their side, Hunter wasted little time getting down to business and were able to put CSI away with the first three singles flights that went final. In the top-spot, Selegean proved too strong for Bragerton-Nasert, winning 6-3, 6-2, and shortly after, at the No. 6 position, Hunter’s Usherenko moved passed Nataliya Zitser, 6-1, 6-0. As the other flights moved into the second set, Hunter’s Joseph then scored a 6-2, 6-4, win over Ilona Stoyko in the No. 2 flight to clinch the win.
In matches that were unfinished CSI was battling strong. At No. 3, HC’s Gina Yeo beat CSI’s Baak, 6-4 in the opener, but Baak had a modest 2-1 edge in the second set. At No. 4, Barabatko scored a 7-5 win over HC’s Kaleda, and the score was 2-2 in the second set when play was halted. CSI’s Mulla lost her first set, 6-4, to Ahwireng at No. 5, but Mulla was up 2-0 in the second at the halt.
Despite the loss, CSI Head Coach Paul Ricciardi had nothing but good things to say about his valiant team. “I am not disappointed,” he said. “We gave a great effort and came up short tonight. We have a young, hungry team and I am confident we will be back. I am very proud of how we handled ourselves and performed.”
For now, CSI’s season is over, but the team will pick back up in the spring and play during its non-traditional season as well.