On a blustery afternoon at the CSI Tennis Center the College of Staten Island women’s tennis team took a strong step forward in the CUNYAC Postseason Tournament Quarterfinals, taking a convincing, 5-0, win over No. 6 Hunter College. The third-seeded Dolphins improved to 7-7 overall and will advance to the CUNYAC Semifinals on Tuesday against No. 2 Lehman College. The Dolphins also honored senior pair Nozima Toshpulatova and Michelle Kushnir in pregame festivities, as they played in their final home game of their careers.
When play did get underway the story of the match was dealing with the incredibly windy conditions, as the winds whipped up to 30 miles per hour at times, playing havoc with each shot. It took both teams a while to adjust, but in the meantime, CSI got on the board quickly when the No. 3 Doubles team of Tristiana Adragna and Hannah Bruschi scored a lop-sided, 8-1, win over Tabitha Doris and Nataliya Pavlishyn after dropping the first point.
The other two doubles matches took a lengthy time to complete, namely because both teams engaged in long volleys and took turns seizing momentum. In the top spot, CSI’s team of Nozima Toshpulatova and Viktoriya Volkova got the final momentum swing. Down 7-6, they held serve to even the game at 7-7, and then they scored a very important break over Angelica Rozenfeld to go up 8-7, and then Volkova was efficient against the wind, holding serve to lift CSI in the match, 9-7 to get CSI as a team up, 2-0.
Shortly thereafter, the CSI No. 2 tandem of Kushnir and Dana Friedman responded to a feverish HC comeback by Catherine Ng and Mehriniso Khaydarova to score an 8-5 winner, and that gave CSI the monster, 3-0, advantage.
When play turned to singles, CSI was awarded a quick point, when unfortunately for the Hawks, No. 3 Singles player Rozenfeld retired just one serve into play, giving CSI a 4-0 via the win by Adragna. From there it was a race to see who could clinch fort CSI, and it was No. 5 singles player Aziza Jurabaeva, who did not play doubles and got off to an earlier start against HC’s Kyanna Bertrand, 6-4, 6-1.
At that point the match was suspended due to CSI clinching, but the Dolphins were ahead at all of the flights except at No. 4, where Friedman and Khaydarova were in a first-set tiebreaker.
The win lifted CSI to 7-7 overall, and will pit them against No. 2 Lehman College in the CUNYAC Semifinals that will take place at the National Tennis Center at 3:00pm on Tuesday. Lehman defeated a short-handed CSI during their regular season meeting, 7-2. Lehman is 13-1 overall this season and on a 12-game win streak. They earned a first-round bye in quarterfinal play, as did top-seeded Baruch College.