May 9, 2010

Courtesy of Slippery Rock

WEXFORD, Pa. -- The 34th-ranked Slippery Rock University women's tennis team is going to Disney World!!

Well, maybe not exactly, but the Green and White are going to that general vicinity after they claimed a 5-0 win over 42nd-ranked Bloomsburg in the final match of the NCAA Division II Atlantic 2 Regional tournament at Oxford Athletic Club.

The win, SRU's 21st in 26 matches this season, earned The Rock a berth in the national Round of 16 competition, which starts Wednesday at Sanlando Park in Altamonte Springs, Fla.

The Round of 16 berth was the third earned by a Rock women's tennis team in the last nine seasons and first since 2008.

The Green and White, who played in a regional final for the fourth consecutive season, won their first-ever regional title and Round of 16 berth in 2003.

Saturday's win was a bit of a vindication for The Rock, who were forced to settle for regional runner-up honors in both 2007 (5-0) and 2009 (5-3) due to losses to Bloomsburg in the finals.

That is all past history for The Rock, who will face 50th-ranked St. Cloud State (Minn.) in its Round of 16 match Wednesday.

The national tournament runs through next Saturday, May 15.

Bloomsburg finished its season with a 15-6 record with its final two losses coming at the hands of The Rock, who handed the Huskies a 5-2 setback April 23 in a Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference semifinal match.

Saturday's win also gave The Rock a final 2-1 edge in the season series, Bloomsburg won a 5-4 decision Sept. 20 in regular-season action.

Senior Laura Handy and sophomore Sarah Lynch led the winning Rock effort Saturday as they each had a hand in two of the Green and White's points.

Handy, who was named last week as the Intercollegiate Tennis Association's Atlantic Region "Senior Player of the Year," teamed with fellow first-team All-PSAC-West performer Dunja Drmac to record an 8-4 win in the No. 1 doubles match. Handy then handed All-PSAC-East singles performer Katie Hasyn a 6-1, 6-1 defeat in the No. 1 singles match.

Lynch, who earned All-PSAC-East honor as a singles player, beat All-PSAC-East singles selection Laura Sullivan 6-3, 6-1 in the No. 2 singles match to account for the final point in the match, which was played under the "Race to 5 format." That win came shortly after Lynch and freshman Janelle Krantz combined efforts to record an 8-2 victory in the No. 3 doubles match.

The other Rock point came via an 8-4 win by The Rock's tandem of junior Chelsea Gibson and senior Jessica Hilborn over Bloomsburg's All-PSAC-East duo of Hasyn and Kristen Bonito.

Complete results of Saturday's regional final included:

#1 - Laura Handy / Dunja Drmac (SRU) def. Emily Palko/Alison Carney 8-4
#2 - Chelsea Gibson / Jessica Hilborn (SRU) def. Katie Hasyn/Kristen Bonito 8-4
#3 - Sarah Lynch / Janelle Krantz (SRU) def. Laura Sullivan/Andrea Malatesta 8-2

#1 - Handy (SRU) def. Hasyn 6-1, 6-1
#2 - Lynch (SRU) def. Sullivan 6-3, 6-1
#3 - Drmac (SRU) vs. Palko (BU) unfinished (Palko leading 6-2, 2-3)
#4 - Gibson (SRU) vs. Carney (BU) unfinished (Gibson leading 6-3, 3-3)
#5 -- Hilborn (SRU) vs. Bonito (BU) unfinished (Bonito winning 6-3, 5-2)
#6 - Casey Runyan (SRU) vs. Malatesta (BU) unfinished (tied 6-6)

Order of finish - #3 doubles, #1 doubles, #2 doubles, #1 singles, #2 single