Barry Wins Florida Blue SSC Women's Tennis Championship Title
Clinching a Barry University sweep, the Buccaneers won the 2012 Florida Blue SSC Women's Tennis Championship on Sunday, beating Lynn by the same score that the Barry men had defeated the Knights in Saturday's men's final, 5-2.
Julie Stas, Caroline Wendling and Akemi Maehama couldn't decide which court to rush.
With Mona Mansour and Olivia Matuszak both closing in on the clinching point, the Buccaneers trio were whipping their heads back and forth from court to court.
"I wanted to run on the court, but I couldn't," Wendling said. "It's very exciting, but it's stressful, too. My heart was beating so fast. I couldn't wait anymore."
Matuszak, who had won twice earlier in the tournament, had three match points to wrap it up. But Mansour, the Swedish sophomore, assumed the closer's role on this day, beating Ana Kriz, 6-3, 6-1, at No. 5 singles to clinch Barry's third straight Florida Blue Sunshine State Conference championship Sunday at Beerman Tennis Center.
It was the women's program's sixth league title, and the university athletic program's 49th overall.
"Each conference championship is special in its own way," Bucs coach Avi Kigel said. "Different roads to get here. This year the road was tough. It was tough for everyone. But we were able to keep our concentration and put forth a great effort. It was a great win against a great Lynn team."
Barry (22-0) won the first point when Stas and Matuszak beat Kriz and Roxane Alexandru at No. 2 doubles, 8-1. Lynn's Ioana Ivan and Sabine Kraus, ranked third in the country, tied the match at 1-1 with an 8-2 win over Mansour and Cristina Valladares at the No. 1 flight.
Down 5-2, Wendling and Linda Fritschken rallied to knot their No. 3 doubles match with Andrea Berkova and Kim Przeszlowski at 6-6.
"I was saying to Linda, 'We can't lose the doubles,'" Wendling said.
Barry's duo went ahead 7-6 before Lynn tied it back up. The Bucs then jumped back ahead 8-7, only to have the Fighting Knights take the next game to send the match into a tiebreaker. Fritschken won a pair of backhand winners at the net, and Wendling forced Lynn into a couple precarious shots as Barry ran to a 7-1 tiebreak win to push the Bucs up 2-1 in the match.
"If we were 1-2 down, then on my part, I would've had more pressure (in singles)," Wendling said. "And I think the other girls would've been the same. They would've been more tight. Even though we could do it, of course, that would've been more pressure. We gave the best we could. We fought to the end, and luckily it worked out."
Wendling wasted little time taking care of business in singles as she beat Alexandru, 6-0, 6-3, at the No. 6 spot to move the Buccaneers within two points of clinching the title.
"It means a lot to me. I'm very, very happy that we won and I won because it's my last conference, and I wanted to contribute to help this team win," Wendling said. "The feeling that I have is the best right now.
Stas did her part as well with a 6-1, 6-2 win over Przeszlowski at No. 3.
"When I arrived here, I didn't even know what it meant to win conference," Stas said. "In the beginning, it's nice to play on a team, and when you get in conference you realize how important it is to win championships.
"I'm really happy that I contributed for the team. I'm happy for myself, but I'm even more happy for the team. I'm happy to make them happy, and it's always nice to win doubles and singles. It couldn't be better than to do it in my senior year. Today, I just wanted the team to win. If it was me, I'm happy, but if it was someone else, I would've been as happy, honestly."
Ivan, ranked No. 3 in the country, won the No. 1 singles flight to pull Lynn within 4-2. But Mansour, who was points away from clinching earlier in the tournament when Sarah Krohnen secured the quarterfinal victory, added the finishing touches to this year's title.
"Each year is exactly as special as the year before," Mansour said. "Being apart of it this year with these girls, which are my closest friends here, too, makes it even better. The coaches and all of us players know how hard we were working for this, and being able to accomplish it is amazing."