Story courtesy of University at Buffalo Athletic Media Relations
BUFFALO, NY- The University at Buffalo women’s tennis team claimed its first Mid-American Conference Championship on Sunday afternoon, coming back to defeat Western Michigan, 4-3, at the Ellicott Tennis Courts. Down 3-0 after the doubles point and two singles matches, the Bulls stormed back by winning four consecutive matches, which was capped off by Smaranda Stan’s (Stantu Gheorghe, Romania/Economic) victory at fourth singles. Western Michigan was ranked 60th in the country entering the tournament. With the win, UB claims its first ever postseason MAC Title and a trip to the 2008 NCAA Tournament.
“This is an outstanding day not only for our team, but for the entire University at Buffalo community,” said head coach Kathy Twist. “We could not have done this without the support from everyone beginning with our administration. We made history today, but I believe this is just the first of many championships for this athletic department.”
Playing in front a large and vocal crowd, the Bulls did not allow a 3-0 hole deny them their first ever title. UB got on the board as Diana Popescu (Alexandria, Romania/AL. I. Cuza) defeated Noriko Saruta at third singles, 6-3, 6-2. The momentum continued as UB cut the WMU lead to 3-2 with a victory at fifth singles as Diana Toia (Rochester, NY/Brighton) defeated Ashley Moccia, 7-5, 7-5. Sophomore Denise Harijanto (Jakarta, Indonesia) tied the match up at 3-3 as she defeated Priyanka Parekh at second singles, 6-3, 0-6, 6-4. That set the stage for Stan’s contest at fourth singles against Emily Dudzick. Dudzick took the first set 6-3, but then Stan took the second set 7-5 to force a pivotal third set. Stan was down 4-2 in the third set before taking the next two game to make it 4-4. Stan and Dudzick split the next two games to make it 5-5 before Stan broke serve to go up 6-5 and then served for the match as she claimed the 7-5 victory.
“What I really enjoyed about our team during this tournament was that every single person played a part in the victory,” said Twist. “Whether it was during our matches against Toledo and Miami or today, I can truly say this was a total team victory.”
Harijanto and Stan were named to the All-Tournament team with Stan being named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player. Stan went 3-0 in singles during the tournament, claiming the clinching point in all three matches.
The Bulls will find out their opponent in the 2008 NCAA Tournament on Tuesday afternoon following the selection announcement which will air live on ESPNews between 2:00 pm and 2:30 pm.
No. 6 Buffalo 4, No. 1 Western Michigan 3
1. Kerstin Pahl/Priyanka Parekh (WMU) def. Diana Popescu/Denise Harijanto (UB), 8-3
2. Smaranda Stan/Diana Toia (UB) led Ashley Moccia/Noriko Saruta (WMU), 6-2
3. Yumi Matsuto/Emily Dudzik (WMU) def. Andreea Novaceanu/Tina Jacob (UB), 8-2
1. Kerstin Pahl (WMU) def. Andreea Novaceanu (UB), 6-4, 6-0
2. Denise Harijanto (UB) def. Priyanka Parekh (WMU), 6-3, 0-6, 6-4
3. Diana Popescu (UB) def. Noriko Saruta (WMU), 6-3, 6-2
4. Smaranda Stan (UB) def. Emily Dudzik (WMU), 3-6, 7-5, 7-5
5. Diana Toia (UB) def. Ashley Moccia (WMU), 7-5, 7-5
6. Amanda Moccia (WMU) def. Tina Jacob (UB), 6-0, 6-1
All Tournament Team:
Smaranda Stan - Buffalo (MVP)
Denise Harijanto - Buffalo
Kerstin Pahl - Western Michigan
Amanda Moccia - Western Michigan
Katia Babina - Bowling Green
Cara Wald - Miami