HOUGHTON -- The SVSU Women's Tennis team remained unbeaten in the GLIAC after a tight 5-4 road victory at Michigan Tech on Saturday (Sep. 30). The Cardinals ran out to a 2-1 lead after doubles play, sealing the victory after splitting in singles play, 3-3.
The victory moves Saginaw Valley to 3-1 overall on the season with a 3-0 mark in league play. The 3-1 start to the season is the best through four matches for the team since the 2012-13 campaign.
At the No. 3 Doubles spot for the Cardinals, the freshman team of Joanne Gao and Maya Campbell won in a similar fashion. They claimed a 9-8 (5) victory of their own in a tiebreaker, giving the visitors the 2-1 edge after doubles play. That duo fought back from down 2-6 to remain unbeaten at 4-0 in doubles play on the year.
Miller notched the first point for the Cardinals in singles play, taking her opening set at No. 2 singles by a score of 6-4 before winning due to retirement in the second set.
Taylor McLauglin got the second point in singles play, pushing the Saginaw Valley lead out to 4-1 after a 6-2, 6-4 victory at the No. 4 spot.
Michigan Tech claimed the next two wins of the match, winning at the No. 3 and No. 1 spots, respectively. Gao fell in a tight 7-5, 6-3 contest at the No. 3 spot while Donahue had a three-set match at No. 1, eventually falling 6-7, 7-5, 6-2.
Campbell responded for the Cards at the No. 6 singles spot, outlasting her opponent in another battle to get the 7-6, 6-4 victory and secure the team's fifth point.
Slonac competed well at No. 5 singles but fell by a 7-5, 6-2 score to her Husky opponent.
From Head Coach Jenn Boehm
"It's hard to even know where to start with a match like this. We were on the edge of our seats for every single point of this 5.5 hour battle with Michigan Tech. Credit to them, as they played as tough as I have seen them play since I have been coaching at SVSU. Every one of the nine matches played could have gone either way. It was that close of a back and forth match the entire day.
I have to recognize our doubles first and foremost, because we knew if we could pull out two of those matches that it could be the difference in the match…and sure enough it was. Our #1 doubles played so smart and patient and came up just short. #2 doubles played a notch above their opponents throughout and were able to secure our first point. Our #3 team once again proved that no matter the score they are simply never to be counted out. After being down 2-6, they stormed back with confidence and poise and eventually took the second point 9-8 in a tiebreak. It was so amazing to watch all three court and the level at which we were competing. I could not have asked for more.
Going into singles with a 2-1 lead proved to be huge down the stretch as things played out. There were medical timeouts, injuries, and comebacks that added to the dramatic environment. Our seniors were true leaders, our sophomores performed with grit, and our freshmen had a never say die attitude. The strength, determination, and courage that I saw on the courts today in singles was truly inspiring. Maya was able to earn the deciding point at #6 for us today which was huge, because she was able to tune out any nerves and rise to the occasion. That was a special moment to see the growth in her in just a few short weeks. The team's support for one another was off the charts today and without that, we simply would not have earned this victory.
This match has really proven to all of us that we are ready to compete for a GLIAC Championship. We are ready to handle tough opponents in every position and have the ability to overcome any challenge that we face. It was truly a great day to be a Cardinal!"
Saginaw Valley travels to play at Lake Superior State University on Sunday (Oct. 1) in another league contest. The Lakers are coming off a narrow 5-4 loss to Northwood on Saturday. First serve is set for 10:00 a.m. in Sault Ste. Marie.
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