Seahawks sweep Colonels in a nine-match battle
NEWPORT, R.I. - In its third straight day of competition, Salve Regina University women's tennis put its best effort of the season to score a 9-0 win over visiting Curry College. The Colonels and Seahawks both participated in the 26th annual Women's Grass Court Doubles Tournament yesterday at the Tennis Hall of Fame hosted by Salve Regina. The Seahawks had an 8-1 win at Eastern Nazarene on Friday afternoon to bring an unblemished team record into the third match of the season.
Freshman Ana Gwozdz (Taunton, Mass.) and senior tri-captain Erin Phillips (Morristown, N.J.) continued their dominating doubles at the top flight with an 8-2 win over Curry's freshman pair of Lauren Chuha (Reading, Mass.) and Emily Mongello (Plymouth, Mass.). The Seahawks' No. 1 duo had captured the Flight A championship a day earlier on the grass courts with three individual victories and have posted a 6-0 mark in doubles this week..
Senior tri-captain Elise Jones (Pittsfield, Mass.) and freshman Jessica Moore (Middletown, R.I.) followed with an 8-3 decision at third doubles before senior tri-captain Valerie Leso (West Warwick, R.I.) and junior Nichol Stevens (Chester, Conn.) completed the sweep with an 8-4 score at second doubles.
The singles sweep did not come easy. Moore and sophomore newcomer Karlee Walther (Natick, Mass.) clinched the team decision for Salve Regina with straight-set wins at fourth and sixth singles, respectively. Stevens added a sixth win to the Seahawk ledger with her 6-3,6-3 triumph at second singles.
Curry won the first set in three other matches - first, third, and fifth singles. But Phillips, Gwozdz (pronounced GUH-voosh), and Leso each forced a deciding third set. Gwozdz bested Lauren Maloney (Feeding Hills, Mass.) in her second set at No. 3 singles, and since the team score had yet to be decided, the two battled a full third set. Whereas Phillips earned a split with Megan Mulrooney (So. Boston, Mass.) after Walther's victory and the No. 1 singles match came down to a 10-point tiebreak.
Phillips finished first in her third-set triumph, 10-6 in the tiebreak, while winning six of the final seven points. Gwozdz outlasted Maloney 7-5 in the final set, earning a break in the 11th game and serving up a pair of aces in the last game.
At No. 5 singles, Leso managed a split with Kathleen Rush [Waterbury, Conn.] before Rush raced to 4-1 and 9-5 leads in their match-deciding tiebreak. Leso fought off six match points before earning her first match-point opportunity serving at 12-11. The senior right-hander promptly drilled an ace down the T on the ad box for the win.
"Very impressed with our tenacity in all of our matches," said Salve Regina head coach Ed Habershaw. "Val stuck with her game plan against the steady play from Rush. Even though Val didn't have complete confidence in her net game, she jumped on opportunities to approach and apply pressure. What can you say about saving a half-dozen match points?"
Curry dips to 3-2 overall and 1-2 in The Commonwealth Coast Conference while Salve Regina improves to 3-0 overall and in the league. The Colonels host Colby-Sawyer College on Wednesday and the Seahawks travel to Anna Maria after a well-deserved off-day Monday and a Tuesday afternoon workout.