TENNIS : Syracuse tennis takes major step toward postseason with victory over No. 25 Yale

first_img Comments Published on February 26, 2012 at 12:00 pm Contact Kevin: [email protected] Facebook Twitter Google+center_img After defeating Annie Sullivan, Alessondra Parra immediately hustled to join her teammates at the other end of Drumlins Tennis Center. Only one match was still in play.That final match against Yale would decide whether Parra would realize the biggest victory of her Syracuse career.So when Aleah Marrow finally outlasted her opponent and threw her racket up in jubilation, Parra and the rest of the Orange rushed to the court. After almost an hour of watching from the sidelines, the emotion needed to be released.‘Trying to cheer your teammates on, it’s so much more stressful than actually playing,’ Parra said. ‘You’re on the edge, and you almost want to push them through the finish line.’With Marrow’s win, Syracuse knocked off No. 25 Yale 4-3 in a match that Parra immediately dubbed her biggest win ‘without a doubt.’ For Parra and fellow senior Emily Harman, the victory reflected four years of dedication and constant improvement. For the team, though, the win over Yale established SU’s belief that it has the potential to compete with the elite programs in the nation.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textThe magnitude of the match was clear as Parra beamed after the match, talking about the win with a big smile on her face.‘This says that our hard work over the past few years has paid off,’ Parra said. ‘We won because of our hard work, and this shows that we have a solid and good team.’Head coach Luke Jensen decided to put Parra and Harman at No. 1 doubles Sunday, two days after Parra sat out of doubles for Friday’s match against William and Mary. The seniors took the opportunity to show the rest of their teammates that Yale was beatable, which they hoped would set the tone for the match.Before the match, Parra and Harman discussed their notes and prepared a game plan revolving around mistake-free play. They wanted to go into the match knowing exactly what they needed to do to emerge victorious, Parra said.Then they went out and won 8-3 against the No. 27 nationally ranked duo of Hanna Yu and Vicky Brook.‘It felt good to execute what we had strategized earlier,’ Parra said. ‘It was a very clean match, and we didn’t have that many errors.’Even though Yale won the other two doubles matches to earn the first point, the seniors’ efforts proved the Orange could compete with the Bulldogs. They continued the momentum by proceeding to win their respective singles matches. Harman took down Yale No. 1 Elizabeth Epstein 6-1, 7-5, while Parra defeated Sullivan 6-3, 7-6 (7-4) in a second set tiebreaker.Harman went into the match wanting to set the tone early with energy and passion. With that mentality, Harman said the Bulldogs would know they were in for a challenge.‘Parra and I really wanted to roll out as captains and show them who’s boss,’ Harman said. ‘I think we surprised them. I don’t think they expected us to come out with that much fire.’Aside from improving to 8-4, the win could end up being much more meaningful for the Orange. The NCAA tournament selection committee notices wins over ranked teams, important for Syracuse considering Jensen’s goal of winning a national championship.The victory will only help the program strengthen its position in the country, Jensen said.‘It helps us recruit better, and it helps us establish ourselves with our hard work,’ Jensen said.Tension was present throughout the entire building, as evidenced by frequent confusion regarding line calls in Marrow’s deciding match. When a match means so much to a program’s foundation, Jensen said that pressure is bound to rise.But the tension didn’t bring the Orange down.At the end, Harman and Parra were able to enjoy this program-defining victory with their teammates. Harman feels that Sunday’s performance shows the younger players they have the ability to succeed on the big stage‘I hope that as an older and more experienced part, I can set the tone where they can expect that for themselves, where they don’t have to look for anything,’ Harman said. ‘These are the types of matches we can look back to and draw upon when we’re in the bigger moments.’[email protected]last_img

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