California (Pa.) rolls by Mercyhurst
Vulcans sweep past Lakers, advance to Sweet 16
MONROEVILLE, Pa. -- The No. 11 Vulcans claimed a 6-0 victory against Mercyhurst on Tuesday morning in the second round of the NCAA Division II Tournament at Club Sport and Health to claim the Atlantic Region No. 1 Championship.
With the win, California (Pa.) extended its win streak to 10 matches while improving to 21-7 this season. The victory advances the Vulcans to the Round of 16 as the champions of the Atlantic Region No. 1 Tournament. Cal U will face Drury (Mo.), the Great Lakes Valley Conference champions, in the Round of 16 on Wednesday, May 11, in Altamonte Springs, Fla. Meanwhile, the Lakers finish the season with an 18-6 record after making their second consecutive appearance in the NCAA Tournament.
The Vulcans swept doubles play for the 10th consecutive match to take a commanding 3-0 lead at Club Sport and Health. Senior Laurie Navarro and junior Franziska Steinhardt opened the match with an 8-3 win at the third position over Courtney Conway and Jenna Raynor. At second doubles, juniors Axelle Fernandez and Anastassiya Zherdeva posted their 12th-consecutive win by earning an 8-1 victory over the Lakers' Rebecca Haener and Kelton Macke. Cal U closed play in doubles when the No. 20-ranked tandem of junior Annabel Pieschl and sophomore Jade Pondicas posted an 8-2 win at the first slot over Kim Ezzo and Caroline Bristol, the second-ranked doubles team in the region.
Cal U then clinched its fifth consecutive regional title by winning three singles matches on Tuesday in straight sets. Zherdeva stretched the lead to 4-0 after defeating Macke by a 6-2, 6-0 count at the fourth position, while Steinhardt sealed the match victory with a 6-2, 6-1 victory at fifth singles over Haener. In a matchup of two of the top three singles players in the region, Pieschl collected a 6-1, 6-0 win against Ezzo at the first slot just moments after Steinhardt's match-clinching victory.