The College of Staten Island women’s tennis team punched their ticket to the 2012 CUNYAC/Hospital for Special Surgery Championship Final this afternoon, scoring a 5-2 win over No. 2 Brooklyn College as part of semifinal play at the National Tennis Center in Flushing, New York. For the third-seeded Dolphins, the win was their ninth-straight, advancing the team to 12-4 this season, and pitting them against defending-champion and top-seeded Hunter College in the Final.
Play began with doubles, and CSI got off to a very important 2-1 lead. They did that scoring two wins in a row, as the Bulldogs grabbed the first lead when in the top flight the tandem of Yuliya Orkis and Liana Rivkin powered over Ilona Stoyko and Jean Baak, 8-1. The lead for BC, however, would prove to be their last, as moments later, CSI’s No. 3 team of Jacqueline Jamaleddine and Jessica Barabatko scored an 8-4 winner over Gianna Gelosi and Maryam Razaz.
With the score knotted at 1-1, both coaches and many on the teams turned their attention to second doubles. CSI had the early edge, and held form to score an 8-4 victory thanks to Sabrina Bragerton-Nasert and Mediha Mulla over BC’s Maria Sanz and Norma Lynn Chabbott.
Play then turned to Singles, and BC’s Orkis was overpowering in the top-spot, getting the Bulldogs even by virtue of a 6-0, 6-2, win over Bragerton-Nasert. From there, however, the match belonged to CSI. Soon after Orkis’ win, CSI’s Mulla, at No. 5, proved her CUNYAC Rookie of the Year faring, scoring a 6-1, 6-2, win over Olayinka Sarayi. Holding similar form, CSI’s Baak breezed at No. 3 Singles, scoring a 6-1, 6-1, win over Sanz.
The remaining three flights were extremely competitive. CSI won the first set of each of those flights by just two points, with Stoyko (No. 2) and Nataliya Zitser (No. 6), winning theirs in an extra set, 7-5. The same was true for Barabatko at No. 4, who first scored a 6-4 win over Chabbott, and then took set two, 7-5, to clinch the win for CSI.
Play was halted at that point with two matches left unfinished. At the time of the stoppage, Liana Rivkin had won the second set over Stoyko at No. 2, 6-4, which would have set up a third and deciding set, while Zitser was up, 4-1, in her second set.
In the other semifinal, No. 1 Hunter took a 5-3 decision over No. 4 Baruch College. In that match, the score was tied 3-3 with three flights remaining when top singles player Jane Selegean and No. 5 Stephanie Ahwireng both won their hard-fought flights to clinch victory. Hunter lifted their mark to 11-3 overall, while Baruch finalized at 8-7.
In their lone regular season meeting, Hunter defeated CSI, 7-2, in a match that was much closer than the final score may indicate, with three singles flights going to third-set tiebreakers (Hunter won all three). Since the loss, CSI has won 9 straight games, which does not also include a forfeit win over Medgar Evers College. The Hawks have been equally impressive, having won 10 of their last 11 contests.
Match time for the final will be 5pm at the National Tennis Center on Wednesday, October 24. Admission is Free.