Losses to St. Francis, Duquesne leaves women’s tennis still searching for first win

Doug Hendry

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Seeking its first victory of the spring season, the women’s tennis team will have to wait at least one more weekend to achieve a mark in the win column. With a 4-2 loss against St. Francis (Pa.) on Feb. 20 and a 4-0 defeat at Duquesne on Feb. 21, the Bison dropped to 0-4 overall this year.

Playing at a neutral site, Maria Cioffi ’16 and Lisa Jouravleva ’18 picked up the two victories for the Orange and Blue last Friday against St. Francis.

At No. 1 singles, Cioffi cruised to a 6-1, 6-1 triumph, and Jouravleva survived against her opponent at No. 2 singles 7-6, 2-6, 6-3. Jouravleva was an impressive 3-0 through the first three matches of the spring.

“The off-court training, including conditioning and weight-room, has really helped me improve my footwork on the court. Especially since I’ve had four long matches, I’ve noticed a huge difference from the beginning of the year because I still have energy left when I get to the third set, which is why I’ve been able to win those close matches,” Jouravleva said.

Unfortunately, the Orange and Blue could not muster another point, as they were defeated in three singles matches and two of the doubles matches throughout the day.

“It has been a smooth transition from the fall season to the spring matches. Even though we have lost the first four team matches, all of our players look and feel strong on the court,” Allie Lane ’18 said.

The transition from the fall season has not yet turned into victories for the squad. Even though a few starters were missing for this match, this was still the best performance of the young season for the Bison.

The following day, Duquesne shutout the Bison 4-0 at the Alpha Tennis and Fitness of Pittsburgh.

In a weather-shortened affair, the squad, who was still down several key starters, was unable to keep up with the Dukes as Duquesne recorded its second shutout of the year.

Jouravleva and Emilie Bush ’18 fell 6-0 at No. 2 doubles while Lane and Christie Schneider ’15 dropped their decision at No. 3 doubles 6-2. In singles play, Cioffi, Jouravleva, and Madeline Melch ’18 all were unsuccessful in their pursuit of a point at No. 1, 2, and 3, respectively.

“My team and I have to focus on maintaining our positivity throughout the weekend. We are all there for each other and extremely supportive, and it’s just a matter of keeping that positive energy through every player on the team,” Jouravleva said.

The Orange and Blue have now completed four of their first 11 consecutive road matches to start the season, a grueling schedule that will properly prepare them for the second half of the season.

Next on the slate for women’s tennis is a trip to North Tonawanda, N.Y. to take on Niagara on Feb. 28, followed by a match at St. Bonaventure on March 1.

“To get a victory this upcoming weekend, our team needs to keep our intensity high on the court and really focus specifically on what we needed to work on in the previous matches this season,” Lane said.

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