HAMDEN, CONN. - The Seton Hall tennis team got its first taste of singles action in 2012 on day two at the Quinnipiac Invitational, asserting themselves as a force to be reckoned with from the outset.
By day's end, the Pirates had posted a cumulative record of 11-2, setting up the potential for several all-Pirate finals later today in the process. The wins did not come without adversity however, as on three occasions the Pirates overcame a first set loss to ultimately advance.
In the A flight, junior Chloe Sher (Tin Shui Wai, Hong Kong) received a first round bye as the top seed. In her only match of the day, she dropped only four games on her way to beating Maria Clara Bernardez of Providence, 6-4, 6-0.
With the win, Sher advanced to Sunday's semifinal where she will take on another Friar, freshman Alana Prinos.
Playing in the B flight, doubles partners Karina Cordero (Maracay Estado Aragua, Venezuela) and Alex Landert (Naples, Fla.) both received first round byes as well. The second round yielded three-set marathons for both, as Cordero and Landert were each forced to rebound after falling in the first frame.
At the top half of the bracket, Cordero drew PC sophomore Taylor Corder in the second round. Corder jumped out to the early lead by taking the first set 6-3, but Seton Hall's captain turned the tables and earned a 6-3 set victory of her own to even the match. In the decisive third, Cordero outlasted her BIG EAST counterpart to take the match by a final score of 3-6, 6-3,11-9.
In the bottom portion of the bracket, Landert went up against Sacred Heart freshman Katie DiRienzo in what was the first singles match of her collegiate career. Despite falling in the first set 2-6, she was able to overcome the early setback and dictated play the rest of the way. After blanking DiRienzo in the second set, Landert took the third, 10-3, to also advance to the semifinals.
Today's B flight matchups will feature a pair of showdowns between SHU and UConn. Cordero will face Maxene Weinberg and Landert will go up against Lucy Nutting with a berth in the finals on the line.
During C flight action, freshman Julia Keenan (Greenland, N.H.) needed just two sets to capture a victory in her first match as a Pirate. After a first round bye, Keenan dispatched Quinnipiac junior Lavina Cristescu 6-0, 6-2 to clinch one of the final four slots.
Madison Shoemaker (Halfmoon Bay, British Columbia) did not receive a bye, but overpowered Hartford sophomore Christie Greenberg in their first round matchup, advancing without dropping a game.
To start the second round, Shoemaker fell in the first set 4-6 to UConn sophomore Natalie Robson. Undeterred, the Seton Hall sophomore took the second set 6-3 before ending the match with a 10-5 victory in the tiebreak.
Last year, the pair advanced to the D flight final in what was their first collegiate tournament, with Rodriguez edging her classmate in the championship match.
On the first day of singles at Quinnipiac in 2012, the duo of second-year players picked up where they left off. Rodriguez cruised to the semis, dropping just three games total in two victories. The Bogota native defeated Connecticut sophomore Sarah Baker, a native of Hamden, 6-0, 6-3 in the first round and closed the day by shutting out Sacred Heart junior Maggie Tooley to remain in the main draw.
Guryanova was similarly successful, coming out on the wrong end of only four games in her two wins. The sophomore from Moscow posted two 6-0, 6-2 victories over a pair of seniors on the day, defeating Quinnipiac's Morgan Crystal in the first round and Julia Allen of UConn in the second.
Rocio Portela (Demetrio Vega Baja, Puerto Rico) also competed for SHU, falling out of the A flight main draw after a 4-6, 3-6 first round loss to QU's Rachel Cantor. Portela rebounded in her second match to eliminate Hartord's Colleen Beck, 8-2, to advance to the consolation final. In the final, Portela suffered her second loss to an opponent from Quinnipiac as she was edged, 6-8, by Jacqueline Raynor.
After being eliminated from doubles contention on Friday, the focus will be squarely on singles when Seton Hall resumes play later today, the final day of the tournament.
To keep up with all the action from the last day of the Quinnipiac Invitational and beyond, don't forget to follow the all-new official twitter feed of Seton Hall tennis @SHU_Tennis.