Indianapolis, Ind. - The Youngstown State women's tennis team defeated Cleveland State 4-2 on Saturday afternoon in the semifinals of the Horizon League Championships at the Barbara S. Wynne Tennis Center on the campus of North Central High School.
The victory propels the Penguins (15-9) to the Horizon League final for just the second time in school history. YSU will take on 16-time defending champion UIC on Sunday at 1 p.m. at the West Indy Racquet Club (4458 Guion Road, Indianapolis, IN 46254). YSU's only other final appearance was in 2005.
The Penguins' top three singles players – Horizon League Player of the Year Paula de Man, Margarita Sadovnikova and Marta Burak – all scored straight set victories at Nos. 1, 2 and 3 singles to push YSU into the championship.
At No. 1, de Man defeated Mathilde Orange 6-2, 6-4 for her 15th straight win and improve to 22-1 on the season. At No. 2, Sadovnikova breezed to a 6-2, 6-0 win over Alex Power for her 22nd victory over the year and Burak knocked off Alex Bush 6-4, 6-1 for her 14th consecutive victory and school-record 27th victory of the year.
The trio also powered YSU's doubles wins, which gave the Penguins an early 1-0 lead. Burak and Sadovnikova took an 8-4 win at No. 1 over Bush and Kara Sherwood, while de Man and Lauren Hankle combined on an 8-4 victory at No. 2 over Power and Maria Lazaris.
Cleveland State earning victories at No. 5 and No. 6 singles, with Lazaris defeating Annina Brendel, 6-2, 6-4 and Nicole Janek beating Tijana Raicevic, 6-1, 7-5.
YSU has never beaten UIC and dropped a hard-fought 4-3 decision to the Flames earlier this year at the Boardman Tennis Center. Regardless of Sunday's outcome the Penguins have had an amazing turnaround after winning just one dual match last year.
YSU 4, Cleveland State 2
No. 1 - de Man (YSU) def. Mathilde Orange (CSU) - 6-2, 6-4
No. 2 - Sadovnikova (YSU) def. Alex Power (CSU) - 6-2, 6-0
No. 3 - Burak (YSU) def. Alex Bush (CSU) - 6-4, 6-1
No. 4 - Hankle (YSU) vs. Kara Sherwood (CSU) - 2-6, 6-1, unfinished
No. 5 - Maria Lazaris (CSU) def. Brendel (YSU) - 6-2, 6-4
No. 6 - Nicole Janek (CSU) def. Raicevic (YSU) - 6-1, 7-5
No. 1 - Burak/Sadovnikova (YSU) def. Bush/Sherwood (CSU) - 8-4
No. 2 - Hankle/de Man (YSU) def. Power/Lazaris (CSU) - 8-4
No. 3 - Orange/Janek (CSU) def. Raicevic/Brendel (YSU) - 8-1