MIDLAND, Mich. - The SVSU women's tennis team competed against the Wayne State University Warriors in the fifth place match of the 2016 Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) Women's Tennis Tournament. The Cardinals came back from a 2-1 deficit after doubles play and sealed a 5-2 win over WSU to finish in fifth place at the tournament.
The Cardinals got their lone victory in doubles at the top spot, with Ana Pico Garcia and Shea Donahue notching an 8-3 win at no. 1 for the third straight time on the weekend. The other two matchups were close, with Izabella Ismailova and Danielle Slonac falling 8-6 at no. 2 doubles and Abigail Shonk and Taylor McLaughlin dropping an 8-5 match.
It was the first time of the three matches of the weekend where Saginaw Valley did not carry a 2-1 advantage over into singles play.
With numbers 2, 4, 5 and 6 going out first, SVSU claimed all four opening sets in dominating fashion to set the pace for singles.
Saginaw Valley closed-out at the no. 5 and no. 6 positions with quick victories, as McLaughlin won 6-1, 6-0 at the five spot and Madeline Miller was victorious at no. 6, 6-0, 6-3 to put SV up 3-2.
Slonac then followed and avenged an earlier loss to her opponent in the teams' dual match in the regular season. She put the Cardinals up 4-2 after posting a straight sets win at no. 4, 6-2, 6-2.
With three matches still out, Garcia split her first two sets at no. 2 singles, setting the stage for an exciting third frame.
Ismailova (no. 1) and Donahue (no. 3) were also on the court and dropped their opening sets to seemingly shift the overall momentum to the Warriors for the match.
The pair, however, would rebound for wins in their second sets to change the atmosphere in the arena, which would help the team and Garcia in her third set.
She would come up clutch, pulling out one of her patented three set wins, closing-out her matchup and the overall victory for the team with a 6-1, 6-7 (5), 6-2 win.
That sealed the 5-2 victory for Saginaw Valley and their best finish in over a decade in the annual league postseason tournament.
Ismailova and Donahue's contests would both go down as officially being unfinished.
From Head Coach Jenn Boehm...
"We started this tournament with an incredible five hour match versus Ferris and although we fought with every ounce we had, once again came up just short of the win. It took a lot out of us physically and emotionally. However, the character and toughness of our team truly showed the next two days. We came out against Hillsdale and really played them strong at every spot. I was very happy with our doubles play and our singles performances were truly inspiring. By the final match on Sunday versus Wayne State, we were filled with pride. These ladies found the energy and poise to get our second straight win over a team we had struggled to compete against just a couple years ago. The way we battled from start to finish this weekend was very impressive. We'll have some time off but then will begin preparing for our spring season in January."
In conjunction with the final day of the tournament, the 2016 All-GLIAC Women's Tennis teams were also announced and honored. The Cardinals had three players earn all-league plaudits for the fall season.
Izabella Ismailova was named First Team All-GLIAC after her senior campaign. It is her third first team all-league honor, as she was named second team all-conference one year as well. Ismailova went 9-2 at no. 2 doubles in regular season conference play, teaming up with teammate Danielle Slonac at that position. She posted a 4-6 record in singles for SVSU, holding down the no. 1 spot for the Cards.
Ana Pico Garcia earned Second Team All-GLIAC honors in her senior season for Saginaw Valley. She posted a stellar 8-3 record at the no. 2 singles spot this fall. Garcia added a 5-6 record while playing at no. 1 doubles with teammate Shea Donahue.
Slonac was named to the All-GLIAC Honorable Mention team after her solid fall. She played to a 9-2 record with Ismailova at no. 2 doubles. Danielle added a 9-2 record in singles play while playing across the board at the no. 3 through no. 6 singles positions. She played six matches at her current no. 4 spot, posting a 4-2 record.
"I am very proud of having our seniors Izabella and Ana selected for all-conference awards," said Boehm. "Danielle received honorable mention after an incredible season of 11-3 in both singles and doubles. I am so proud of them and all of the girls on our team who have really stepped up to help our team reach this next level of success."
The 2016-17 fall portion of the team's schedule is now complete and the team will pick up competition in the spring of 2017.
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