Franklin Springs, GA – The Emmanuel College Women's Tennis Team hosted the Lander University Bearcats this Tuesday afternoon. After earning a win on the road last Saturday against Columbia, the Lions were looking to earn a second straight win, now against a NCAA D-II regional foe.
The doubles action started with all three doubles in action with Botella/Cipriano at #1. The freshman duo was toe to toe with the opponents Ono/Poikola for the first half of the match until the Bearcats were able to open a lead by breaking Cipriano's serve, after an inside-out forehand from the young British player that sailed wide. The home doubles team fought back and tried a come back, getting closer on the scoreboard again, but still down a break at the last changeover, 7-6. The visiting team had no issues in closing the match, 8-6, by serving efficiently and exploring the unforced errors from the Lions. On court #2, Kiderlen/O'Connor started the match a little slower than usual and could not prevent the 4-1 lead from the opponent's, Elliot/Mello. After two good games with fast approaches to the net and solid returns, the Lions duo tied the match at 4-4. Everything seemed to be shifting to Emmanuel, but Lander shift into higher gear and closed the match in 4 quick games, 8-4. On court #3, the story was very similar as the second seeded doubles team. Kirby/Muesse were looking to be more agrressive this evening and they successfully got to the net in a lot of points, but the great defensive game from the Bearcats prevented several game point opportunities from the home team, closing the match 8-1.
The lions went to the singles events down 3-0 but with all six courts going at the same time, Emmanuel was looking to get 5 out of the 6 wins in singles play. On court #6, Abi Muesse fought hard and tried to play a lot of balls with the forehand, mixing with some slices on the backhand side too, but her opponent, Lauren French, was too solid on the baseline today, earning a 6-2 6-1 win. Muesse's doubles partner, Kaylee Kirby, was on next court and faced similar troubles against Renata Mello, who moved Kirby around the court and used her unforced errors to clinch the match and earn a 6-2 6-0 win. The Freshman from Zimbabwe, Chloe O'Connor, had issues with her forehand today and faced a lot of issues in being more aggressive than her opponent today. The Lady Lion got better and improved her level on the second set, but after losing her serve at a key moment, she saw Caroline Yodice give Lander their #6 win by 6-1 6-4. On court #3 another freshman, Katherine Kiderlen played long points but faced a lot of trouble in closing the games whenever she has come chances. The Bearcat, Anni Poikola, saw that and played a very defensive game, always playing one more ball than Kiderlen, who dropped the match 6-2 6-0. The match was even on court #2 and Pearllan Cipriano was decided to get the Lions their first point of the day, but Yuriko Ono, who played a very similar game as Cipriano was not making things much easier. After great rallies and good approaches to the net, the match was only decided at the tie-breaker and it was Lander who snagged the win by 7-5, after Pearllan opened a 4-1 lead. Mentally stronger now, Ono finished the second set without dropping anymore games, clinching the 8th point for the Bearcats. The single point of the day came from the hands of Fantine Botella, who used her forehand today to hit a lot of winners against her opponent. Botella opened a quick 5-2 in the first set but after dropping the intensity, the Bearcat sat down for a 5-4 at the changeover. Fantine did not that affect her momentum and after two consecutive double faults from the opponent, the Lady Lion clinched the set 6-4. The second set was just like the initial one and Fantine opened another 5-2 lead but her opponent did not give up and tied everything once again at 5-5. With a good service game and good shot sequence, Botella held the serve and used the unforced errors from the opponent later to break and clinch the win.
The Lions will now travel to a couple conference matches. The first stop will be on Friday at King University, first serve scheduled for 2PM, followed by Lees McRae on Saturday at 11AM.
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