Penguins Show Grit in NCAA Loss at Third-Seeded Virginia

Nehel Sahni
Nehel Sahni
Charlottesville, Va. – The Youngstown State women's tennis team lost 4-0 to third-seeded and No. 4 Virginia on Friday afternoon in the opening round of the NCAA Tennis Championships at the Snyder Tennis Center.

The Penguins (14-12) were making their first-ever appearance in the NCAA Tournament against the ACC Championships.

In doubles, YSU played well at No. 1 and at No. 3 against the Cavaliers. The Guins dropped their match at No. 2 doubles 8-0 as the No. 7-ranked duo of Julia Elbaba and Rachel Pierson defeated Nehel Sahni and Annina Brendel.

At No. 1 and No. 3, the Penguins split the first two points and then won consecutive points to make the scores 5-3. At No. 3, Margarita Sadovnikova and Carolyn Jesko dropped their match to Danielle Collins and Maci Epstein by an 8-3 score. Dominika Lackova and Marta Burak held on but were trailing 6-3 as the Cavaliers (22-5) earned the point.

UVa earned singles points by 6-0, 6-1 scores at No. 4 and No. 6 as Pierson defeated Brendel and Caryssa Peretz beat Jesko.

The Guins made the Cavaliers work for the final point. 

At No. 3, Lackova regrouped after a 6-0 opening set loss to No. 53 Stephanie Nauta, and had the second set tied at three. But Nauta won the final three points to clinch the match for Virginia.

Highlighting the effort was Sahni who jumped on Epstein to take the first set 6-4 and was down just 4-3 in the second set when the match was stopped. Sahni won the final three points of the opening set to earn the victory.

At No. 1, Sadovnikova battled Elbaba, who is ranked fourth in singles. Sadovnikova tailed 6-2, 5-0 in her final collegiate match to one of the top players in the nation. At No. 2, Burak hung tough with Collins, who is No. 32, trailing 6-3 and 2-1.