Bulls best Highlanders for a splendid seven
Published: Tuesday, March 5, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, March 5, 2013 20:03
The Miller Tennis Center was packed with fans for both the men’s and women’s tennis teams Sunday afternoon. All eyes were glued to the action on the courts as both teams took on the New Jersey Institute of Technology.
The women’s team started out hot, knocking off the Highlanders (6-2) in the first two matches to earn the doubles point.
Juniors Tanvi Shah and Miranda Podlas came out hot, clinching the first doubles point for the Bulls (7-0). Shah had previously been announced as Mid-American Conference Player of the Week.
“[Shah’s recognition] is well deserved,” said head coach Kristen Ortman. “She’s a great player and faces great players and she came out on top today, which is another example of playing a great player and being mentally focused to get the job done.”
Junior Annamaria Candanoza and freshman Gopika Kapoor also contributing to the sweep. Both completed the doubles points with an 8-3 victory over their opponents.
The Highlanders brought their best for the singles matches, forcing the Bulls to work for the win after their start.
Senior Tamara Markovic finished her match first, beating Jana Luste, 6-2, 6-4. The Bulls won their next two matches in straight sets, before placing the clinching match on sophomore Laura Fernandez’s shoulders.
Fernandez defeated her opponent, 6-1, 7-6 (7-4).
The last two singles matches for Candanoza and Kapoor were pushed until after the first four matches were finished and both matches went to extra sets. Kapoor defeated her opponent, 6-1, 7-6 (7-2).
With so many matches extended to tie break, the intense conditioning that Ortman put her team through early in the year is finally paying off.
“[Conditioning] has been a big difference this year,” Ortman said. “There’s been a lot of focus on conditioning and running and getting physically stronger. I’ve demanded a lot more out of them physically, and I don’t think they liked it at first, but I think they bought in and see, ‘Hey, in close matches we’re going to come out on top because we’re in better shape.’”
The Bulls will head to the deep South during the school’s spring break. Their next match is against the University of Louisiana-Lafayette. The trip southward will be an opportunity for the team to play some outdoor matches, which Ortman believes will truly help the team when the girls start to face MAC competition.
The Bulls’ match with Louisiana-Lafayette is on March 12 at 2 p.m.