CHICAGO, Ill. – The Cleveland State women's tennis team opened its final weekend of regular season play Saturday afternoon, capturing a thrilling 4-3 victory at UIC. The Vikings are now 13-8 overall this season and 7-1 in Horizon League action, with the seven wins tying the program record for league wins in a season.
"This was a very exciting day for us, we were able to pick up a huge win in league play and remain in a tie for first place in the league standings going into tomorrow's match against Valparaiso," head coach Brian Etzkin said. "The doubles point went our way once again today, and we were playing some solid doubles tennis which I hope continues throughout the tournament next weekend. We were then able to come out and play some strong singles, and we were able to focus on the task at hand and pick up the wins that we needed. This team has been showing a ton of fight over the last few weeks, and that is all a testament to how hard they have been working since the beginning of the spring season."
The Vikings, who have now picked up the doubles point in all but one league match this season, got out to an early 1-0 lead after picking up wins at No. 1 and No. 2 doubles. At the top of the lineup, Isabella Spindler and Aleksandra Golawska posted a 6-3 victory, while Mathilde Orange and Princess Gbadamosi earned a 7-5 win at the No. 2 spot. Both of these teams improved to 6-2 against league opponents this season with their wins against the Flames.
Cleveland State was then able to put another point on the board at the start of singles play, as Golawska won her seventh straight Horizon League singles match with a 6-3, 6-2 decision at No. 5 singles. Golawska now has a 7-1 mark against league opponents, and a team-best 13-7 singles record this spring.
The Flames were then able to even the score at 2-2 with a pair of wins at No. 6 and No. 2 singles, but Victoria Bensimon gave the advantage back to Cleveland State with a 6-4, 6-4 victory at No. 3 singles. Playing at the No. 3 spot for the first time during league play this season, Bensimon was able to notch her 10th straight singles victory, and improve to a perfect 8-0 against league opponents.
Gbadamosi then gave the Vikings the clinching point at No. 4 singles, as she battled for a 6-3, 1-6, 6-0 three-set victory. The win marked her 14th of the season, and put her within one singles win of becoming the 14th Viking all-time to record 50 career singles wins.
"I'm so pumped for the ladies after this win today, they have been working so hard all year and we are finally seeing what they are truly capable of," associate head coach Frank Polito said. "We really showed how much fight we have today, as we were down 3-1 at No. 1 doubles and won five straight games to get the win on that court, and then Victoria was down 4-1 and won five straight games to help get her win. I'm so proud of this team, and look forward to seeing what else we can accomplish this season."
UIC was able to pick up the final singles point on the day, earning a victory at No. 6 singles after the match was decided.
The Vikings will close out the regular season portion of their schedule tomorrow (Sunday, April 24), traveling to Valparaiso for a 4:00 p.m. EST contest. Tomorrow's match will be another crucial contest for Cleveland State, with Horizon League Tournament seeding and the Regular Season title up for grabs.
Cleveland State 4, UIC 3
1. Spindler/Golawska (CSU) def. Manole/Le Comber (UIC), 6-3
2. Orange/Gbadamosi (CSU) def. Hahn/Leblanc (UIC), 7-5
3. Altansarnai/Zuzu (UIC) def. Bensimon/Nix (CSU), 6-0
1. Jackie Altansarnai (UIC) def. Isabella Spindler (CSU), 7-6 (5), 6-2
2. Ann-Sophie Hahn (UIC) def. Mathilde Orange (CSU), 6-1, 7-5
3. Victoria Bensimon (CSU) def. Oana Manole (UIC), 6-4, 6-4
4. Princess Gbadamosi (CSU) def. Melika Leblanc (UIC), 6-3, 1-6, 6-0
5. Aleksandra Golawska (CSU) def. Rachel Le Comber (UIC), 6-3, 6-2
6. Bianca Zuzu (UIC) def. Jana Schober (CSU), 6-0, 6-1