ITHACA, N.Y. – The Seton Hall women’s tennis team got its spring season underway on Friday, competing in both singles and doubles on day one of a three-day competition hosted by Cornell University.
Seton Hall is one of three teams in this weekend’s field, with eight-time defending Patriot League champions Army joining SHU and hosts Cornell at the invitational tournament.Five Pirates were entered in the singles A flight, with junior Chloe Sher (Tin Shui Wai, Hong Kong) earning the second-overall seed and a first-round bye.
Sher will be joined in tomorrow’s quarterfinal action by fellow junior Rocio Portela (Demetrio Vega Baja, Puerto Rico) after Portela battled her way to a three-set victory on day one. After taking the first set from Army’s Margaret Iliev, 7-5, Portela fell in the second frame, 2-6. In the ensuing set, she controlled the action and put away the victory by a convincing 6-2 margin in the decider.
With the win, she advanced to a day-two matchup with number-one overall seed Sarah O’Neil of Cornell.
Senior Karina Cordero (Maracay Estado Aragua, Venezuela) and freshmen Alex Landert (Naples, Fla.) and Julia Keenan (Greenland, N.H.) were also in action in the A flight but fell in straight sets. The trio has not been eliminated from singles competition however; as Cordero will square-off with Iliev in the consolation opener for the chance to take on the winner of a showdown between Landert and Keenan.
In B flight competition, sophomore Madison Shoemaker (Halfmoon Bay, British Columbia) had a three-match winning streak that dated back to the fall snapped as she fell to Cornell’s Christy Kung, 2-6, 4-6.
Both matches followed a similar script as the second-year duo each dropped the first set, 2-6, in their respective matches. Rodriguez rallied to push Haley O’Connor of Army to 12 games in the second, but was ultimately edged, 5-7. Rodriguez has now split a pair of matches with O’Connor in 2012-13 and could potentially get her shot at a tiebreaker when the teams meet next Saturday in SHU’s first dual-meet of the spring.
Guryanova forced a tiebreak in her bid to reach the third set, but came up just short, falling by a final tally of 2-6, 6-7 (2) to O’Connor’s Army teammate, Elle Taylor.
All three sophomores will have a chance to eliminate a member of the Black Knights from singles competition in their first consolation match.
On the doubles court, Shoemaker and Keenan advanced to the A flight semifinals with their team-leading seventh win as a pair this season. Up against Army’s Erin Colton and Jamila Paul, The Hall’s dynamic underclassmen tandem captured their fifth victory by at least a four-game margin, advancing by a score of 8-4.
SHU’s all-time winningest team, Sher and Portela fell just short of adding another win to their historic tally. The juniors were upset by the home team of Kung and Sara Perelman, 6-8, and will face the Black Knight pair of Iliev/Pitman in Saturday’s back draw action.
In the B flight, Cordero and Rodriguez need just two wins to take the crown after receiving a first round bye. They will face Army’s Larraine Saavedra and Gabrielle Spindler tomorrow in their first doubles match of 2013.
Guryanova and Landert also teamed up in the B flight, playing together for the first time this season. The two Pirates were bounced from the main draw by Eva Sung and O’Connor, but will get another shot at an Army team when they take on Taylor and her sister Della in the back draw on day two.
Play will resume from Cornell on Saturday, January 26. The day-two schedule calls for one round of doubles followed by two rounds of singles competition.
For updates on the action as it happens, follow @SHU_Tennis on twitter.