Cards drop tight home match to Ferris State, 5-4

Ana Pico Garcia lost a tight match at no. 2 singles in a third set tiebreaker...
Ana Pico Garcia lost a tight match at no. 2 singles in a third set tiebreaker...

UNIVERSITY CENTER, Mich. - The Saginaw Valley State University women's tennis team hosted its first match of the 2016 fall campaign on the team's outdoor courts. After a back-and-forth match filled with excitement, the Cardinals would eventually fall by a narrow 5-4 count to the Ferris State University Bulldogs on Sunday (Sep. 18) at the SVSU Tennis Complex.

The no. 2 doubles team of Izabella Ismailova and Danielle Slonac was strong once again, claiming an 8-4 victory over the Bulldogs to move to 3-1 overall on the season. It was the only win for SVSU in doubles play, as it entered singles competition trailing by a 1-2 count.

Trailing by two, the Cardinals needed to rally in singles and the ladies would do just that.

Taylor McLaughlin got SVSU on the board first, knotting the match at 2-2 after a victory at no. 5 singles, 6-2, 6-0. It was her first collegiate singles victory as well. 

The Bulldogs pulled back ahead after a win at no. 6 singles to make the score 3-2. 

Shea Donahue then came back from a 4-1 deficit in the second set to seal a 6-3, 7-5 victory in her match at no. 3 singles. That tied things up at 3-3.

Ismailova fell in a close match at no. 1 singles 7-5, 6-4, which put the visitors up 4-3.

Her doubles teammate, however, would come through clutch as Slonac responded with a marathon three-set victory at no. 4 singles by a score or 6-4, 3-6, 6-3.

With the match all-square at 4-4, the final and deciding point came down to the no. 2 singles slot, which featured a very close match. 

After dropping the first set 6-4, Ana Pico Garcia fought-off a pair of match points in the second down 4-5 to tie it at 1-1 after pulling out a 7-6 win in the second frame. Another back-and-forth and final third set is where the overall match would be decided. It would all come down to a third set tiebreak, where Pico would fall just short, dropping the third and final set by a 7-6 final (7-5 tiebreak). 

That sealed the 5-4 victory for the Bulldogs, who moved to 2-2 overall and 2-2 in GLIAC play after the win. 

From Head Coach Jenn Boehm...

"Our team put it all on the line for five straight hours today. We came up short in our goal to win two of the doubles matches but I was proud of our effort. Going into the singles, we knew we had a chance to win on every court and the scores truly reflect that. The middle of our lineup came up big today with some tough wins. Ultimately, you hate losing such an incredibly hard-fought and close match, but as the coach I sincerely believe it is preparing us for something greater. Today felt like it was going to be our day and just didn't go our way. One thing I am confident in is that we will respond and come back stronger than ever. The ITA regional tournament this upcoming weekend will be a great chance for us to regroup and prepare for our road trip to the U.P. in two weeks." 

Saginaw Valley (1-3, 1-3 GLIAC) will be in Grand Rapids, Michigan for the regional tournament from Friday through Sunday.