Indiana University of Pennsylvania snapped a nine-match Slippery Rock women’s tennis winning streak Tuesday when it handed the Green and White a loss in a battle of nationally-ranked PSAC-West teams.
Senior Sarah Lynch won in her No. 1 singles match Tuesday afternoon to account for the only Slippery Rock University team point as visiting, and No. 41 IUP handed the No. 44 SRU an 8-1 setback after winning nine consecutive matches and adding a loss to their undefeated conference record.
The Rock saw its season record drop to 14-3 overall and 3-1 in PSAC-West action after the loss to the Lady Hawks. IUP improved its season record to 13-6 overall and 3-1 in the PSAC-West.
Head coach Matt Meredith said the final score of Tuesday’s game didn’t accurately reflect how well the team played.
“Boy, that one was a tough one to lose, to say the least,” Meredith said. “The score really didn’t represent how well we did as a team against IUP.”
Senior Dunja Drmac, who teamed with Lynch for the No. 1 doubles match, was also involved in the other Rock highlight for the night. She extended the No. 2 singles match to three sets before falling by a 7-6 (4), 1-6, 10-3.
“Sarah Lynch played fabulously and did very well by getting her win quickly,” Meredith said. “Dunja played really well too, and unfortunately lost her singles match in three games. However, on our senior day, they represented very well and played their hearts out.”
The Rock came close to winning two of the three doubles matches that opened Tuesday’s action, but wound up dropping close decisions in the No. 1 and No. 2 matches. Coach Meredith said that letting IUP off the hook was like the “kiss of death” and was a hard one to swallow.
“We had a chance to go up on them and get ahead in those matches,” Meredith said. “It was like the kiss of death and we just let them off the hook and that was a hard one.”
Senior Sarah Lynch said Tuesday’s game was an important evaluation of how the team has progressed throughout the season.
“The match against IUP was a learning experience,” Lynch said. “It was our day to analyze their strengths and weaknesses. IUP simply outplayed us and I give them credit for that.”
Tuesday’s outcome also set the date for a quarterfinal rematch in the PSAC Team Championships. The Rock and IUP will meet again April 17 on the road. With another matchup in SRU’s future, it was good to see IUP this early as opposed to later on in the season, Lynch said.
“Personally, I’m glad this happened now rather than later,” she said. “I hope it fired my team up to see that IUP is a better team than last year and we have to bring our best games as well as put our hearts into each and every shot.”
The Rock will play their final three regular-season matches, starting Tuesday at No. 8 California University of Pennsylvania. SRU then takes on West Virginia Wesleyan and Holy Family on back-to-back days, April 14-15, as part of the Bloomsburg Duals.