Doubles Play Loses Two Matches for Bulls
The women's tennis team fought hard over the weekend, but couldn't come away with a 'W.'. Young Kyung Yoon /// The Spectrum
The women's tennis team has been struggling to win doubles matches since entering conference play. However, it needed the point in both matches this weekend.
On Friday, the Bulls (6-10, 2-4 Mid-American Conference) split the six singles matches but failed to beat Toledo (9-9, 2-3 MAC) in doubles play and dropped the four and a half-hour match, 4-3. Buffalo would have little rest, as it faced Eastern Michigan (8-13, 4-2 MAC) the next day. The Bulls split the singles matches but failed to win the doubles point again and ended their home portion of the schedule with another 4-3 loss.
Teammates and fans gathered around two courts, as juniors Tamara Markovic and Kira Golenko represented the tying and go-ahead points, respectively, in two deciding matches. Markovic finished first, defeating Toledo's Lexi Pitt in three sets (6-3, 5-7, 6-3), putting Golenko in position to win the match for Buffalo, but Golenko fell.
"It was tough emotionally, but as an athlete you are used to it," Markovic said. "I came out as a winner and that is what keeps me positive."
Eyes shifted to the final match, where Golenko was in an animated showdown with Chrissy Coffman for the overall team win. After dropping her first set, 6-1, Golenko took control and won the second set in a tiebreaker, 7-6. However, Coffman won three straight games to seal the win with a 6-4 third-set victory.
"We knew that the matches were going to be very close all the way down the line," said head coach Kathy Twist. "So of course it comes down to the last couple of matches that you have to win. We won some but we didn't win enough to take it as a team today."
After the marathon of a match on Friday, the Bulls looked to rebound on Saturday against Eastern Michigan. From the start of singles play, there was an intense mood coming from both teams. Sophomore Tanvi Shah let her play do the talking, swiftly defending each shot that Eastern Michigan's Nino Mebuke hit at her, while Mebuke was vivacious.
"I knew she was a good player and she was going to push me," Shah said. "Coach told me just to keep the ball high and deep and work my way through. [She said] if I get a short ball then just attack and it worked."
Shah defeated Mebuke in two sets 6-4, 6-2.
Although she was exhausted after Friday's match, Markovic was able to build on that three-set victory by shutting out Eastern Michigan's Ankita Bhatia, 6-0, 6-0.
"I was feeling physically tired, but I know if I was ready mentally it wouldn't bring me down," Markovic said. "I just focused on what I needed to do strategically, instead of focusing on if I was tired or that I had a long match."
The team once again found itself in a deciding match situation. It all came down to sophomore Anamaria Candanoza. She won her first set, but dropped the final two.
"[Anamaria] knew how important that match was, not only about pride, but also to her team," Twist said. "She hung in and she fought hard against a very difficult opponent, and I am proud of her, win or lose, that is the example I want on the court [and] what UB is."
The Bulls will now have time to rest up before they head to Northern Illinois (11-9, 2-4 MAC) on Sunday. They will return to DeKalb, Ill. the following weekend for the MAC Championships.
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