California (Pa.) captures PSAC title
Vulcans sweep past IUP for fifth consecutive conference crown
BLOOMSBURG, Pa. --The 13th-ranked Vulcans claimed their fifth-consecutive and seventh overall Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) Team Championships on Friday morning with a 5-0 victory against Indiana-University Pennsylvania.
With the win, California (Pa.) improves to 19-6 overall and extended its win streak to eight matches. The Vulcans, who are the top seed in the Atlantic Region, will likely receive their seventh-consecutive NCAA Tournament selection on Tuesday, April 26. Meanwhile, the Crimson Hawks fall to 19-6 and will likely earn a berth to the NCAA Tournament next week after ranking second in the region.
In doubles, the Vulcans took a 3-0 lead after losing only six games in three matches. Senior Laurie Navarro (Eysus, France/Jules Supervielle) and junior Franziska Steinhardt (Bad Lausick, Germany/St. Augustin Gymnasium) opened doubles play with an 8-1 victory at the third position over IUP's Emilia Osborne and Alex Ballard. At first doubles, the No. 20-ranked tandem of junior Annabel Pieschl (Gothenburg, Sweden/Katrinelund) and sophomore Jade Pondicas (Johannesburg, South Africa/British International Distance) posted an 8-2 win against Katie Eaton and Tabtip Louhabanjong. Cal U closed the doubles session when juniors Anastassiya Zherdeva (Almaty, Kazakhstan/Gumnasia Number 60) and Axelle Fernandez (Toulouse, France/Institut Familial) dealt the Crimson Hawks' Ranvita Mahto and Kelly McBryan an 8-3 defeat at the second slot.
Cal U clinched the tournament title in singles play when Fernandez and Navarro won in straight sets. Fernandez posted a 6-0, 6-1 win over McBryan at the fifth position, while Navarro clinched the match with a 6-1, 6-1 victory in the sixth slot against Ballard.
Pieschl was named PSAC Tournament Most Outstanding Player after finishing with a 2-0 doubles record in wins over West Chester and IUP, two of the top 10 teams in the region.
Navarro became the first player in program history to be a member of four-straight PSAC Championships.
Over the last five seasons, the Vulcans have compiled an astounding 120-21 overall record (.851) with five-straight PSAC West and Tournament Championships.