CLEVELAND, Ohio – Behind a strong singles performance, the Cleveland State women's tennis team opened Horizon League play with a victory Saturday afternoon, earning a 5-2 win over UIC in the league-opener.
"This was a huge win for us today, it's not only great to start league play with a victory, but we were also able to prove to ourselves that we could get the match-win without the doubles point," head coach Brian Etzkin said. "We got off to a tough start in doubles, which is something that we are improving on week-after-week, and in singles it was like a heavyweight fight. I'm so proud of the determination that this team showed today and I'm happy to get our first league win of the year."
Saturday's victory over the Flames marked Cleveland State's fourth straight win over UIC and improved the Vikings to 6-1 in the Medical Mutual Tennis Pavilion this season. Overall, the Vikings now own a 13-2 record when playing in the MMTP.
After dropping the first two points of the match, Cleveland State bounced back with five straight singles wins to pick up the league-opening victory over UIC.
Cleveland State's first point of the match came from Princess Gbadamosi at No. 4 singles, as she earned a 6-2, 6-4 victory. The win gave Gbadamosi 63 career singles wins, and moved her into sole possession of eighth place on the CSU Singles Wins List.
Isabella Spindler tied the match at 2-2 with a victory at the top of the singles lineup then, posting a 7-6 (1), 6-3 victory to even her record at No. 1 singles at 6-6 this spring.
Aleksandra Golawska notched Cleveland State's next singles point, earning a 2-6, 7-6 (4), 6-4 victory at the No. 3 spot. Golawska, who stands at 12-10 this season, is now just four wins shy of reaching the 50-win milestone for her career.
The clinching point of the match came at the bottom of the lineup from freshman Blanche Lenoan, as she earned a 3-6, 6-3, 7-5 victory at No. 6 singles.
"Princess was able to put us on the board early in singles play, and Aleksandra was down a set and down 4-1 but came back to give us a huge momentum push with her win at No. 3 singles. The biggest singles win of the day was from Blanche though, as she was also down a set and had to play outside of her comfort zone during the entire match to pick up the clinching point for us today. Hopefully all of this continues into tomorrow's match and throughout the coming weeks of league action," Etzkin said.
Victoria Bensimon rallied for Cleveland State's final point of the day, as she battled for a 4-6, 7-5, 6-4 victory at No. 2 singles – her team-leading 14th win of the season. Bensimon now has 68 career singles wins and is just two wins shy of becoming the seventh Viking all-time to reach 70 career wins. Bensimon also improved to 22-2 against league opponents in regular season matches, and is currently on a 14-match winstreak.
The Vikings will return to action tomorrow (Sunday, March 26), as they are set to host Valparaiso at 2:00 p.m. in the Medical Mutual Tennis Pavilion.
Cleveland State 5, UIC 2
1. LeBlanc/Le Comber (UIC) def. Bensimon/Schober (CSU), 6-2
2. Spindler/Gbadamosi (CSU) vs. Manole/Zuzu (UIC), 2-4, unf.
3. Sanders/Vasic (UIC) def. Golawska/Lenoan (CSU), 6-3
1. Isabella Spindler (CSU) def. Oana Manole (UIC), 7-6 (1), 6-3
2. Victoria Bensimon (CSU) def. Georgie Sanders (UIC), 4-6, 7-5, 6-4
3. Aleksandra Golawska (CSU) def. Melika LeBlanc (UIC), 2-6, 7-6 (4), 6-4
4. Princess Gbadamosi (CSU) def. Bianca Zuzu (UIC), 6-2, 6-4
5. Rachel Le Comber (UIC) def. Jana Schober (CSU), 6-0, 6-4
6. Blanche Lenoan (CSU) def. Miranda Rodriguez (UIC), 3-6, 6-3, 7-5