Women's Tennis Makes Memorable Strides in 2012-13

Margarita Sadovnikova, Paula de Man, Marta Burak
Margarita Sadovnikova, Paula de Man, Marta Burak

The Youngstown State women's tennis team advanced to the Horizon League Championship match for the second time in school history, three players won more than 20 matches for the first time ever and the 15 dual wins were the most since 1999.

The Penguins went 15-10 for the year which marked a major turnaround for the program considering in the previous three years YSU combined to win 12 matches, highlighted by six in 2009-10. YSU had just one win in 2011-12. Of the 10 losses in 2012-13, seven came by 4-3 scores, including the conference final versus 17-time champion UIC that was decided with a three-set final match.

Helping pave the way were first-team All-Horizon League selections Paula de Man, Margarita Sadovnikova and Marta Burak. The trio was 21-0 in the conference regular season and then went 6-0 in the Horizon League Championships. Combined the three players ended the year having won 42 consecutive matches.

de Man, who arrived in January, helped spark the rebirth of the program. The Horizon League Player and Newcomer of the Year she was 23-1 for the year. Her lone loss came against Ohio State's Kelsey Dieters, who is currently ranked 67th in the country. After her loss to Dieters, de Man won her final 16 matches of the season. Of her 23 wins at No. 1, all but three came in straight sets.

Sadovnikova ended her third year with the program with 55 career victories and is three shy of the school record for most wins in a career. In 2012-13, she was 23-11, including a 17-6 mark this spring. She played all of her 23 spring matches at No. 2 singles. To conclude the year she won her final 11 matches. 

Burak set a school record by winning 28 singles matches. The previous high for wins in a season was 21. Coming off a 19-win campaign, Burak took the next step by going 6-2 in tournament play in the fall and 22-3 in play this spring. At No. 3 singles, she was an impressive 21-2. Her 47 career wins in just two years give her a shot to crush the school record for wins by the time her career is done.

Lauren Hankle, the lone senior with the program, proved to be the leader in the lower part of the lineup. Hankle won 45 matches in her career and won 12 her senior campaign. She had a good spring winning 11 dual matches while going 4-3 in Horizon League play. 

Freshman Annina Brendel posted 14 wins in her first season with the program. She picked up eight wins at No. 6 singles and was 3-4 in conference play.

Carolyn Jesko had six wins, Tijana Raicevic had five and Gimena Puppo posted three. Raicevic was inserted into the lineup late in the year and picked up two Horizon League wins.

In singles play, the Penguins were 115-79 and in dual play they were a combined 94-55. In Horizon League play YSU amassed a singles record of 30-12. In doubles, YSU was 53-39 overall, 13-7 in the conference and 39-30 in dual play.

The tandem of Sadovnikova and Burak went 20-9 in doubles play while Hankle and de Man posted a strong 17-5 record.

YSU was one win shy of the school record for wins - 16 which was previous established during the 1998-99 season.