BGSU picks up school-record 17th win of season; Falcons to play in the final for the first time in school history
MUNCIE, Ind. – The Bowling Green State University women's tennis team has added another milestone to a year full of firsts. For the first time in program history, the Falcons have advanced to the final match of the Mid-American Conference Championships. BGSU posted a 4-2 win over the University of Akron on Saturday afternoon (April 27) in semifinal-round action at the Cardinal Creek Tennis Center in Muncie, Ind.
With the victory, the Falcons, the second-seeded team in the MAC Championships, improve to 17-4 on the year. MAC-Coach-of-the-Year Penny Dean's team has broken the school record for dual-match wins in a season. BGSU will face top-seeded Miami University in Sunday's (April 28) championship match.
The Zips, the tournament's third seed, sees the season come to an end with a record of 18-10.
BGSU's four seniors -- Maddy Eccleston, Katie Grubb, Mary Hill and Jade Johnson -- combined for a pair of doubles wins to give the Falcons the first point of the day. In singles play, Grubb, Hill and freshman Katie Brozovich posted wins to give BG the victory.
For the 19th time in this season's 21 matches, the Falcons won the doubles point, although all three of Saturday's matches were closely contested. At the third flight, Hill and Johnson won an 8-6 match vs. UA's duo of Ksenia Berestetska and Madison Cohen. The Falcons spotted the Zips the first game, then surged to a 3-1 lead. After Berestetska and Cohen took the next game to close within one, the Hill/Johnson duo again reeled off three-straight games to take a 6-2 advantage.
With the Falcons leading by a 7-3 score, it was UA's turn to win three games in a row, and suddenly the lead was down to a single game once again. But, Hill and Johnson captured the next game to close out the match.
The second doubles flight also saw BGSU win by an 8-6 score, as Eccleston and Grubb downed Prang Pantusart and Angelika Jogasuria. The Falcons never trailed in that match, winning the first two games en route to a 5-1 lead. As was the case at the third flight, the Zips slowly cut into that lead.
Akron crept to within 5-3, and the Zips got as close as 7-6 before Eccleston and Grubb won the next game to give the Brown and Orange the doubles point.
The BGSU seniors are now a combined 15-3 in doubles play since the start of the MAC regular season. The Eccleston/Grubb duo is 7-2 in that time, while Hill and Johnson are 8-1.
The top doubles flight saw BGSU juniors Nikki Chiricosta and Emily Reuland fall behind early, as UA's Angelina Jogasuria and Olga Shkundina won the first two games. The Falcons cut that lead to 3-2, but the Zips responded with two-straight wins to open up a 5-2 lead. Chiricosta and Reuland, however, won three of the next four games to close to within 6-5 when that match was abandoned.
In singles play, Pantusart drew the Zips even with a victory over Eccleston at the third flight. But, Hill downed Cohen in straight sets at flight number six, with a 6-3 win in the opening set and a 7-5 decision in the second. The first set saw Hill win five-of-six games to post the victory, and the senior captured three-straight games to end the second set and the match.
At the second flight, Shkundina topped Reuland, winning a narrow 6-4 set before grinding out a 6-2 victory in the second set. The Falcons and Zips were all even at 2-2 with three matches still taking place.
The Falcons had won the opening set in each of those three remaining matches, and Grubb's match was the next to finish. The BG senior defeated Angelika Jogasuria in fifth-flight action.
After trailing by 3-0 and 4-1 scores in the opening set, Grubb won four-straight games to take a 5-4 lead. The match was tied, 6-6, before the BG senior won a tiebreaker to take that first set. In the second set, Grubb won the first two games before Jogasuria followed suit to tie the score. With the match tied, 3-3, though, Grubb reeled off three consecutive games to capture the match and give the Brown and Orange a 3-2 lead.
With Chiricosta and Brozovich still in action, the Falcons needed just one more victory to punch their ticket to the championship match. The matches played out in similar fashion, as both players won a 7-5 opening set before losing a narrow second set.
At the top flight, Chiricosta rallied from a 2-0 deficit to take the next five games against Angelina Jogasuria. The UA junior, an All-MAC First-Team selection, won three-straight games to forge a 5-5 tie, but the BG junior responded by winning the next two games to take the set.
In the second set, Jogasuria took a 3-0 lead, but Chiricosta battled back to knot the score at 5-5. However, Jogasuria won the next two games, forcing a third set.
Meanwhile, in fourth-flight action, Brozovich fell behind by a 3-0 count, but won three games in a row to even the score against Berestetska. The BG freshman also trailed by 4-3 and 5-4 scores, but took three-straight games for the 7-5 first-set win. In the second set, Berestetska won the first game, before Brozovich roared back for a 4-1 lead. But, Berestetska answered with a run of her own, taking the next five games to win the set.
In third-set action, Chiricosta trailed early, by 1-0 and 2-1 scores, before capturing two games in a row for a 3-2 lead. With Chiricosta's set even at 2-2, Brozovich was tied at 1-1 in her third set, but both Falcons soon would take the lead for good.
Chiricosta took that 3-2 advantage, but Jogasuria evened the match at 3-3. Meanwhile, Brozovich went ahead by a 3-1 score, then captured the next game to take a three-game lead. Chiricosta forged ahead, then won the next game to take a 5-3 advantage, just as Brozovich went up by a 5-2 count.
With both Falcons a game away from victory, Chiricosta and Jogasuria battled to a 40-40 score in their next game. Chiricosta took the advantage, but Jogasuria fought off the match point to even the score once again. Meanwhile, however, Brozovich had taken a 30-0 lead, then traded points with Berestetska for a 40-15 advantage. Berestetska won the next point, but Brozovich then closed out her victory to send the Falcons to the final for the first time.
For Brozovich, the win was her team-leading 28th singles victory of the year, and her 19th win in her last 20 singles matches. She has gone 8-1 at the fourth singles flight since the start of MAC regular-season play.
BGSU now owns an all-time record of 12-18 in the MAC Championships, and the Falcons are 2-1 against Akron in the league tourney. BG leads the Zips, 27-7, in the overall series between the teams, including a 4-3 win in this year's regular-season meeting (April 5 in Akron) as well as Saturday's victory.
The Falcons, as mentioned, won a semifinal match and have advanced to the final for the first time in school history. In fact, BGSU had not recorded a point in a semifinal match since 1997, the first season the MAC went to the current dual-match format for the conference championships. BGSU lost, 5-1, to Western Michigan in the semifinals that season, then lost by a 4-0 score in each of the next six semifinal appearances prior to Saturday.
The Falcons lost a 4-3 decision to Miami in a five-hour match in this year's regular-season matchup, at the Perrysburg Tennis Center two weeks ago (April 13).
Sunday's BGSU-Miami match will begin at 12:00 p.m. at the Cardinal Creek Tennis Center, weather permitting. In the event of inclement weather, the match would be moved indoors to the Muncie YMCA Tennis Center.
Akron vs Bowling Green, Apr 27, 2013 at Muncie, Ind. (BSU Cardinal Creek Tennis Center)
1. Nikki Chiricosta (BGSU) vs. Angelina Jogasuria (AKRON) 7-5, 5-7, 5-3, unfinished
2. Olga Shkundina (AKRON) def. Emily Reuland (BGSU) 6-4, 6-2
3. Prang Pantusart (AKRON) def. Maddy Eccleston (BGSU) 6-1, 6-1
4. Katie Brozovich (BGSU) def. Ksenia Berestetska (AKRON) 7-5, 4-6, 6-2
5. Katie Grubb (BGSU) def. Angelika Jogasuria (AKRON) 7-6 (3-0), 6-3
6. Mary Hill (BGSU) def. Madison Cohen (AKRON) 6-3, 7-5
1. Emily Reuland/Nikki Chiricosta (BGSU) vs. Angelina Jogasuria/Olga Shkundina (AKRON) 5-6, unfinished
2. Katie Grubb/Maddy Eccleston (BGSU) def. Prang Pantusart/Angelika Jogasuria (AKRON) 8-6
3. Jade Johnson/Mary Hill (BGSU) def. Ksenia Berestetska/Madison Cohen (AKRON) 8-6