Facebook Twitter Google+ Syracuse came into Sunday’s match against Yale at Drumlins Country Club with an advantage: Yale only had five players.Instead of playing the standard three doubles matches and six singles matches, SU would compete in two fewer.Yale’s (3-5) insufficient lineup opened the door for the Orange (6-1, 1-1 Atlantic Coast) to dominate the match, 6-0, while dropping one total set. Though the win was straightforward, there were points of frustration and nerves that kept scores competitive, SU head coach Younes Limam said.“Panic here and there is OK,” Limam said, “it’s the way you bounce back (that matters).”SU’s Gabriela Knutson and Miranda Ramirez set the tone early in first doubles against Valerie Shklover and Samantha Martinelli. After dropping the first game, Knutson used her power to her advantage, splitting the defense with two straight volleys to go up 3-1.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textKnutson and Ramirez shook their legs ahead of a game-deciding point, up 4-3 in the set. Ramirez’s hard first serves gave Knutson easy opportunities for volleys to close out the match and win 6-3.In second doubles, Sofya Golubovskaya and Anna Shkudun cruised to a 6-3 win and secured a doubles point for the Orange.Before singles began, Limam elected to take Knutson out of her first singles match, citing rest as the primary factor.“It’s a long season,” Limam said, “so we’re just trying to be smart.”Knutson’s absence moved every other SU player up a slot and put Nicole Mitchell in the lineup at fifth singles.Libi Mesh, who primarily plays fifth or sixth singles, dominated in the fourth slot against Elizabeth Zordani, 6-0, 6-4, and gave Syracuse its first singles point of the day.With five total matches on the day, the Orange needed one more victory to take the match. Golubovskaya and Shkudun, the two remaining options to secure SU’s final point, struggled early in the second and third slots, respectively.After taking a commanding 3-0 in the first set against Amy Yang, Shkudun elected to play longer rallies which detracted from her early aggressiveness. Though she surrendered three games, Shkudun eventually took the first set on a 15-shot exchange that ended with Yang planting the ball in the net.After leading 2-0 early in the first set, Golubovskaya went down 3-4 in the set and trailed 0-40 in a game after a double fault. During a break, Limam told Golubovskaya not to rush her shots and take points one at a time, Golubovskaya said. After coming back to tie the game 40-40, Golubovskaya won by forcing an error and held her ground at 4-4.The two traded points until the first set went to a tiebreaker. After floating a forehand long, Golubovskaya and Shklover were tied at 5-5. Up 6-5, Golubovskaya finally took the first set by fighting off a 20-shot rally and watched Shklover’s forehand go long.“(Shklover) wasn’t giving me free shots,” Golubovskaya said, “I had to earn them.”It was a different story for Shkudun and Golubovskaya in their second sets as they started to get in rhythm. As both led 5-2 near the end of their matches, it became a race to see who could win first. Shkudun’s 11-shot back-and-forth with Yang resulted in an out-of-bounds backhand from Yang, clinching the match for Shkudun and SU. Thirty seconds later, Golubovskaya beat Shklover after a shaky first set to add to SU’s lead.After taking the first set against Sunday Swett, Mitchell fell behind 1-5 in the second set. But, Mitchell forced Swett into longer rallies, which helped her take six-straight games and come back to win 6-2, 7-5.The longest match of day featured Ramirez and Martinelli, who traded the first two sets, sending the match to a decisive third. Down 1-2 in the third set, Ramirez began using the corners to her advantage and put herself back in the lead. Up 5-3, Ramirez won on an error from Martinelli to give the Orange its sixth point of the day.Syracuse’s victory against Yale concludes a three-game homestand at Drumlins. As SU goes on the road for its next five matches, Limam believes Sunday’s win will give them a boost for the future.“You’re gonna have your highs and lows,” Limam said, “… It’s a really good feeling knowing you’re taking care of business.” Comments Published on February 18, 2018 at 3:59 pm Contact KJ: [email protected] | @KJEdelman
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