West Lafayette, Ind. - The Youngstown State women's tennis team beat UIC 4-0 on Sunday morning to win their fifth straight Horizon League Championship.
With the victory, YSU (16-10) advances to the NCAA Tennis Championships for the fifth time in as many years. It's been an impressive run for the Penguin who have defeated Cleveland State (2014), Detroit Mercy (2015), Wright State (2016), Wright State (2017) and now UIC (2018) in final matches. YSU has also won 12 consecutive contests at the Horizon League Championships.
The Penguins came out strong on Sunday winning the doubles point with wins at No. 1 and No. 3 singles.
At No. 1, Sofia Macias and Tamara Teufl trailed 2-0 at the outset of the contest before scoring the next five points. However, UIC's Georgie Sanders and Lejla Colic battled back to get within 5-4, including fitting off a match point at 5-3. On serve, the Guins jumped out to a 40-0 lead, but the Flames were able to hold off the Penguins for two points. YSU was able to claim a 6-4 win when UIC hit a return into the net.
At No. 3, Ana Stroe and Anastasiia Khokhlova jumped out to a 2-0 lead before UIC tied the match at two. The Guins went ahead 4-2 of Rodriguez and Seifert and eventually were on serve at 5-4. At 40-30, Stroe hit a winner to clinch the doubles point for YSU.
At No. 2, Noelly Longi Nsmiba and Imaan Hassim were in a back-and-forth match with LeBlanc and LeComber. The match was tied 1-1, 2-2, 3-3 and 4-4. The Guins went ahead 5-4 but the Flames scored the next two points and were ahead 30-15 when the point was clinched in YSU's favor.
In singles, YSU quickly won first sets at No. 3, No. 4 and No. 5. At No. 5. Teufl won her opener 6-0, at No. 3 Khoklhova picked up a 6-1 win and at No. 4 Hassim picked up a 6-2 win.
The first to clinch was Teufl who finished off Viktoria Seifert by winning the second set 6-2. Hassim was the next YSU player to clinch with a 6-3 win over Rachel LeComber at No. 4. In the meantime, Khoklhova dropped her second set to Melika LeBlanc, 3-6. In the third set, she jumped out to a 2-0 and 4-2 leads before holding just a 4-3 edge late in the set. Khoklhova was able to hold serve at 5-3 and then was able to break LeBlanc to win her match and clinch the title for the Penguins.
In the other matches, Macias dropped her first set 7-6 (4), but was leading in the second, 3-1, against Georgia Sanders. At No. 1, Nsmiba was tied with Colic, 4-6, 6-3, 2-2 and at No. 6, Cassandra Moraleja trailed Bianca Zuzu 6-2, 2-1.