ROAD TO CUNYAC TITLE ENDS IN SEMIS FOR DOLPHINS

The College of Staten Island women’s tennis team saw their bid for a CUNYAC Postseason Championship fall short this evening, falling to No. 2 Lehman College in semifinal play by a 6-1 count in a match played in the cold temperatures at National Tennis Center in Flushing, NY.  The Dolphins finalized the fall portion of their season at 7-8 overall, while Lehman punched their ticket to Friday’s Final against Baruch College, lifting to 14-1 overall.

Lehman set the tone of the late-afternoon in doubles play, sweeping all three flights to grab control and seize momentum.  Still, all three flights were well-contested, not indicative perhaps of the final scores.  In the No. 2 position, CSI’s team of Michelle Kushnir and Dana Friedman locked horns with Lynessa George and Kanto Rasedoara.  The Dolphins took the opening game via Kushnir’s service, but the Lightning stormed back to take the next four games.  Later, up 6-3, Lehman won a critical game after several deuce stalemates, taking the 7-3 lead.  Lehman would add the final point going away, to win it, 8-3.

Just a few beats later, Lehman’s top tandem of Sacha Espiritu and Lizaveta Markouskaya won by the same score over CSI’s Nozima Toshpulatova and Viktoriya Volkova.  The Dolphins were able to ironically break Espiritu’s service twice, but could not control serve themselves in a match where every point was won after deuce.

Focus then shifted to No. 3 Doubles, where CSI’s Hannah Bruschi and Tristiana Adragna were back-and-forth with LC’s Mami Aoki and Patricia Cadet.  Lehman won the opening game, but after that it was all CSI as they built an incredible, 6-2 lead.  But then things turned around and Lehman started to score points, breaking CSI serves in the process and eventually came back to tie the score at 6-6.  By then it seemed Lehman had scored some mental victories as they would coast to win the final two points and win the flight in improbably fashion, 8-6.

The win at the No. 3 Doubles flight seemed to invigorate the Lightning as they came out on fire in Singles.  With the wind blowing fierce and the temperature dropping, the Lightning were able to take first sets in every flight, with the exception of No. 6 Singles, where CSI’s Volkova coasted to a 6-1, 6-1, winner over Cadet.  That, however, came after LC’s George scored a 6-1, 6-3, win over Friedman in the No. 4 position, so it was now a 4-1 Lehman game.

Needing just one more point to clinch, Lehman got it almost simultaneously at No. 5 and No. 3.  In the No. 5 position LC’s Rasedoara defeated CSI’s Aziza Jurabaeva, 6-1, 6-3, and at No. 3, LC’s Aoki put away CSI’s Adragna, 6-2, 6-2.  From there, play suspended with play unfinished at Nos. 1-2 Singles.  At the time of the stoppage, LC’s Espiritu was on top of Toshpulatova at the top spot, 6-2, 3-2, and Markouskaya was up on Kushnir, 6-3, 5-2.  

With the loss, the Dolphins finished 7-8 on the season, with a 4-2 CUNYAC mark.  They will play an abridged spring season as well, with matches scheduled against Ramapo and Farmingdale State.  Lehman will play Baruch College on Friday at 3pm for the CUNYAC Championship.  Baruch was able to defeat John Jay College in their semifinal, 5-0.
 

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