Ann Arbor, Mich. – The Youngstown State women’s tennis team defeated Cleveland State 4-2 on a windy and cool Sunday afternoon to earn the program’s first-ever Horizon League Championship at the Michigan Varsity Tennis Center.
The Penguins won the doubles point while Margarita Sadovnikova, Annina Brendel and Marta Burak all earned singles wins. With the championship title, YSU is the first women’s program other than UIC to win the event since 1996.
In doubles play, Sadovnikova and Carolyn Jesko cruised to a 8-3 victory at No. 3 to start off the day. At No. 1, Burak and Dominicka Lackova eventually defeated Alex Power and Ellen Folkers by an 8-4 score. The Guins had six match points before finally dispatching of the Vikings. At the other doubles match, Brendel and Nehel Sahni battled back to tie their contest at seven before the point was clinched.
The singles matches featured all the ebbs and flows of a postseason contest.
Cleveland State earned the first singles decision as Victoria Bensimon beat Sahni 6-3, 6-2. Sahni started the match strong winning the first three points before Bensimon closed with a flurry.
Moments later, Burak helped the Guins seize back the momentum completing a 6-3, 6-1 win over Alex Bush. The Penguins then went ahead 3-1 as Brendel beat Mathilde Orange 6-3, 6-3 at No. 4. A gritty peformance by Jesko came up just shot in a 6-2, 7-5 loss to Powers making the score 3-2.
Both matches remaining were on courts one and three on the south side of the complex so all eyes turned their direction.
Sadavinkova earned a 7-6 (3) come-from-behind win at set No. 1 while Lackova dropped her opener 7-5. While Lackova battled to stay alive on court three, Sadovnikova kept chipping away at court one.
Trailing 5-4 and down a serve, Sadovnikova broke Lauren Golick to even the set at five. Sadovnikova then held serve making it 6-5 and won all four points on Golick’s final service of the match to seal the championship for the Guins.
With the win, the Penguins advance to the NCAA Championships and will compete in the event starting Friday, May 9.
The NCAA selection show is on Tuesday at 5:30 p.m.
Youngstown State 4, Cleveland State 2
Burak/Lackova (YSU) def. Power/Folkers (CSU), 8-4
Sherwood/Orange (CSU) vs. Brendel/Sahni (YSU), 7-7, unfinished
Jesko/Sadovnikova (YSU) def. Bush/Gbadamosi (CSU), 8-3
M. Sadovnikova (YSU) def. Lauren Golick (CSU), 7-6 (3), 7-5
Marta Burak (YSU) def. Alex Bush (CSU), 6-3, 6-1
Kara Sherwood (CSU) vs. Dominika Lackova (YSU), 7-5, 5-5, unfinished
Annina Brendel (YSU) def. Mathilde Orange (CSU), 6-3, 6-3
Victoria Bensimon (CSU) def. Nehel Sahni (YSU), 6-3, 6-2
Alex Power (CSU) def. Carolyn Jesko (YSU), 6-2, 7-5
COURTESY: YSU SPORTS INFORMATION