CLEVELAND, Ohio – The Cleveland State women's tennis team pulled out a hard-fought Horizon League victory against Youngstown State Friday evening, posting a 4-3 victory against the Penguins. Friday's win improves Cleveland State to 9-7 overall this season and 5-0 in Horizon League play.
The Vikings have now won five straight contests, and have opened league play with a 5-0 record for the first time under head coach Brian Etzkin.
"This was a good team win to keep us undefeated in league play today, and I am very proud of the team's effort and energy that they had throughout the match. This was one of the most exciting, incredible, and fun tennis matches that I have been a part of as a coach," head coach Brian Etzkin said. "The doubles point was key again today as it is all the time with our matches, and we continued to play good doubles and get the early momentum shift."
Once again the Vikings were able to get out to the early 1-0 lead, as Cleveland State has now picked up the doubles point in all five league matches this season. At No. 1 doubles Isabella Spindler and Aleksandra Golawska earned a 7-6 (3) victory, while Victoria Bensimon and Morgan Nix cruised to a 6-2 win at the No. 3 spot.
The Penguins were able to even the score at the start of singles play with a win at No. 6 singles then, but back-to-back wins from Golawska and Bensimon at the No. 4 and No. 5 spots put the Vikings up 3-1.
Golawska posted a 6-4, 6-3 victory at No. 4 singles, marking her fourth straight win and improving to a team-best 10-6 this spring.
Bensimon notched the 47th victory of her career with a 1-6, 7-5, 6-4 decision at No. 5 singles, posting her fifth straight win. Bensimon, who is just three wins shy of becoming the 13th Viking with 50 career singles wins, is now a perfect 5-0 in Horizon League singles play.
Youngstown State then evened the match at 3-3 with wins at No. 3 and No. 2 singles, putting the deciding point on the No. 1 singles court.
After battling for a 7-6 (5) victory during the first set, Spindler dropped the second 6-2, forcing a third a final set. To start the third set, Spindler fell behind 5-0, but was able to work her way back into the match and force a third set tiebreak that would decide the match. The two were evenly matched throughout the tiebreaker, but Spindler was able to persevere and pick up the 11-9 tiebreak victory – clinching the match for the Vikings.
"After Aleksandra was able to get us a quick point on her singles court, we had three matches go to three sets and we had to win two of them for the match. Victoria was able to come back from down a set to get our third point for us, which left it all up to Isabella. After being down 5-0 in the third set, she was trying to stay on the court to create some momentum for the other players, but she came back to win the tiebreaker and clinch the match for us. I have never seen a player come back from that deficit and win, and for Isabella to do that as a freshman in a league match is awesome," Etzkin said.
The Vikings will take a break from Horizon League play tomorrow (Saturday, April 9), as they are set to host IUPUI (12:00 p.m.) and Oberlin (4:00 p.m.). Both matches will be played at the Medical Mutual Tennis Pavilion on the Cleveland State campus.
Cleveland State 4, Youngstown State 3
1. Spindler/Golawska (CSU) def. Sahni/Nsimba (YSU), 7-6 (3)
2. Lackova/Macias (YSU) def. Gbadamosi/Orange (CSU), 6-4
3. Bensimon/Nix (CSU) def. Heino/Brendel (YSU), 6-2
1. Isabella Spindler (CSU) def. Dominika Lackova (YSU), 7-6 (5), 2-6, 7-6 (9)
2. Annina Brendel (YSU) def. Mathilde Orange (CSU), 1-6, 7-6 (5), 6-4
3. Noelly Nsimba (YSU) def. Princess Gbadamosi (CSU), 6-2, 5-7, 7-5
4. Aleksandra Golawska (CSU) def. Sofia Macias (YSU), 6-4, 6-3
5. Victoria Bensimon (CSU) def. Nehel Sahni (YSU), 1-6, 7-5, 6-4
6. Ana Store (YSU) def. Morgan Nix (CSU), 6-1, 6-1