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Pirates Complete Comeback, Top Albany; 4-3

Senior Rocio Portela scored a pivotal comeback victory at #3 to help guide The Hall past Albany

March 3, 2014

NEWARK, N.J. – For the second time this spring, the Seton Hall tennis team rallied to victory behind four singles wins, coming back to top SUNY-Albany, 4-3, on Sunday.

The win was the second in as many days for the Pirates (5-4) and The Hall closed a weekend that included three matches with a 2-1 record overall.

The Great Danes moved ahead 1-0 by posting victories at the second and third doubles positions, putting Seton Hall in an early hole.

Senior Chloe Sher (Tin Shui Wai, Hong Kong) scored at #1 as she was holding a commanding first set lead when Albany’s Rocio Lopez was forced to retire.

Julia Keenan (Greenland, N.H.) added a win in the fourth slot, defeating Kirsten Scott 6-2, 6-4. The triumph was her second in-a-row and pushed her season totals to 14 victories overall and four during the spring campaign.

In order to complete the team comeback, the Pirates were forced to battle back in a number of singles matches as well.

After being edged in a first set tiebreak at #3, senior Rocio Portela (Demetrio Vega Baja, Puerto Rico) took control of her matchup with Cheryl Kukkonen. Portela blanked Kukkonen in a convincing second set victory and went on to double her opponent up in the third to claim a 6-7 (3), 6-0, 6-3 victory.

Down a set at the #2 position, Hannah Liljekvist (Djursholm, Sweden) successfully staved off defeat against Mireille Hermans to help lift the Pirates over Albany. Liljekvist dropped the first set, 4-6, but like Portela, left little doubt in the remaining two.

The sophomore dominated the second frame, prevailing 6-2, and went on to replicate the effort in the decisive third set to close out the crucial point.

Portela and Liljekvist had their matches stopped prior to completion with the team result decided against Fairfield on Saturday, and each picked up their third dual match win of the spring while contributing to Sunday’s victory.

The match was played at NJIT, the same venue where the Pirates previously recorded four singles wins to down the Highlanders in comeback fashion (Feb. 15).

The Hall will get its second crack at a BIG EAST opponent next Saturday, traveling to take on Providence in its final match before a spring break trip to Puerto Rico. Start-time is scheduled for Noon.

Seton Hall 4 Albany 3

#1. Portela/Sher (Seton Hall) vs. Lopez/Scott (SUNY-Albany), unfinished
#2. Kukkonen/Sala (SUNY-Albany) def. Liljekvist/Shoemaker (Seton Hall), 8-4
#3. Hermans/Torres (SUNY-Albany) def. Keenan/Martiny (Seton Hall), 8-2

#1. Chloe Sher (Seton Hall) def. Rocio Lopez (SUNY-Albany), 3-0 ret.

#2. Hannah Liljekvist (Seton Hall) def. Mireille Hermans (SUNY-Albany), 4-6, 6-2, 6-2
#3. Rocio Portela (Seton Hall) def. Cheryl Kukkonen (SUNY-Albany), 6-7 (3), 6-0, 6-3
#4. Julia Keenan (Seton Hall) def. Kirsten Scott (SUNY-Albany), 6-2, 6-4
#5. Paulina Torres (SUNY-Albany) def. Madison Shoemaker (Seton Hall), 7-5, 6-2
#6. Alba Sala (SUNY-Albany) def. Julie Martiny (Seton Hall), 6-1, 6-2