The Lady Barons women’s tennis team overcame a tough Penn State Altoona squad on Saturday, 5-2, to solidify their place in the following day’s AMCC championship match.
Play began just after 3 p.m. in Monroeville, PA, as doubles took the courts. Immediately, junior Maggie Vander Woude and sophomore Taranee Karimpour jumped to an early lead. Following the pattern that has provided them success during the regular season. Karimpour’s solid groundstrokes augmented Vander Woude’s quality net game, making for an 8-2 win.
No. 2 doubles duo Madelyn Conrad and Grace Hammel soon added to the Lady Barons’ lead. The freshman pair accounted for the second point for Franciscan in the match, never allowing the Altoona squad to feel comfortable on the court. The freshmen won their final four games to put the pro set away.
After doubles team Maria Binette and Claire Haddad couldn’t overcome strong No. 1 doubles opposition, the Lady Barons took a 2-1 overall match lead into singles play.
First off the court with a 6-1, 6-0 win was Vander Woude. She owned the net in a dominant No. 5 singles win, one which provided Franciscan a 3-1 lead. “After Maggie won her singles match in record time” the attention turned too th seniors on the court, said assistant coach Shannon Irvin. “You always hope they pull it out, and today they did.”
Close behind Vander Woude was Haddad, who rebounded from her tough doubles loss, taking her No. 4 singles win 6-2, 6-2.
Franciscan held a 4-1 lead with two singles matches off the courts; much closer scores on the remainder of the courts proved “a testament to the depth of our lineup” said assistant coach Scott Greve. After Binette surrendered a two set singles loss at No. 2 singles, the question became who would clinch the fifth and deciding point for the Lady Barons.
Senior singles specialist Erin Coyne soon answered that question at No. 6 singles, in the form of a 6-1, 6-3 emotional victory. Play stopped after Coyne clinched; at the time, Conrad was one point from leveling her match at one set apiece, and after dropping her first set Hammel appeared poised to take her second.
The Lady Barons next play Penn State Behrend in the AMCC finals on Sunday at 11:30 a.m.