UAlbany Tennis Advances to Program's First America East Championship Match
Photo: Mireille Hermans (above) clinched UAlbany into the America East Championship Game.
BALTIMORE, Md. – The University at Albany women’s tennis team will advance to the America East Conference Championship match for the first time in program history. The Great Danes defeated host and No. 3 seeded UMBC, 4-1, on Saturday, April 28 at UMBC Tennis Complex. UAlbany, the No. 2 seed, will battle No. 1 seeded Stony Brook for the conference title tomorrow.
The Great Danes lost the matches' first point in doubles competition. The Retrievers No. 2 and No. 3 teams won by identical scores. Junior Josefin Stange-Jonsson and freshman Shannon Cleary defeated UAlbany freshman Mireille Hermans and sophomore Cheryl Kukkonen. UMBC’s third team followed to defeat freshman Cat Crummey and senior Sarah Iannone.
UAlbany would not lose another point as singles play began. Crummey took home the Great Dane’s first win as Stange-Jonsson had to leave the match early due to injury. From there, junior Rocio Lopez gave UAlbany their first lead, 2-1, as she defeated senior Heidi Danielsson at the No. 2 spot, 6-2, 6-2.
Suddenly, UAlbany (9-13, 3-2) controlled their destiny. Graduate student Irene Santos-Bravo braved a sprained ankle and took home the Great Danes’ third point. Posting at the No. 1 spot, she defeated sophomore Isabel Aldunate, 6-1, 6-1. The match was clinched at the No. 6 spot as Hermans rebounded to beat Cleary in three sets, 1-6, 6-0, 6-2.
Once the doubles point and then match point were clinched – remaining matches were suspended to save time.
"This was a simply terrific total team effort. One of the most inspiring performances from any of my teams in 30-plus years of college coaching,” said head coach Gordon Graham. “Everybody fought like warriors with their backs to the wall. Our players just were so mentally strong. We knew we could beat this team, but it was tougher today on their home courts in front of their home crowd and with some of the other adversity we faced."
The Seawolves and UAlbany will battle in the 2013 America East Conference Championship tomorrow inside UMBC Tennis Complex at 2:00 p.m. Stony Brook is the reigning conference champions.
UALBANY 4 UMBC 1
1. Lopez-Scott (UA) v. Danielsson-Sauer (UMBC) 5-5 (DNF)
2. Stange-Jonsson/Cleary (UMBC) def. Kukkonen-Hermans (8-4)
3. Kurasz-Aldunate (UMBC) def. Crummey-Iannone (UA) 8-4*
Order of finish: 2,3
*=Clinched doubles point for UMBC
1. Irene Santos (UA) def. Isabel Aldunate (UMBC) 6-1,6-1
2. Rocio Lopez (UA) def. Heidi Danielsson (UMBC) 6-2,6-2
3. Kirsten Scott (UA) led Julia Sauer (UMBC) 7-6(5),4-3...DNF
4. Cat Crummey (UA) def. Josefin Stange-Jonsson (UMBC) 3-3, ret. inj.
5. Cheryl Kukkonen (UA) v. Madlena Kurasz (UMBC) 2-6,7-5,1-1...DNF
6. Mireille Hermans (UA) def. Shannon Cleary (UMBC) 1-6,6-0,6-2 $
Order of finish: 4,2,1,6
$= Clinched Match