Coming off a magnificent week, Rock tennis entered the PSAC Tournament riding a 4-game win streak, looking to stun Mercyhurst University in their first PSAC Tournament appearance since 2011-12. The Green and White battled hard with all three doubles matches being decided by just two sets. Despite losing 5-0 in the end, the score did not tell the full story of the match.
Slippery Rock jumped out to a lead in all three doubles matches, but failed to finish off Mercyhurst in each matchup. Junior Allie Welch and freshman Lauren Fadden dropped a hard-fought match to Ivona Plecevic and Athina Tsagkaraki, 8-6. The freshman duo of Viola Lugmayr and Olivia Warner lost to Adrianna Jeffress and Kayla Frost, 9-7, and The Rock’s top duo in Sophomore Lacey Cohen and Senior Carla Corrochano Moracho both struggled down the stretch in their matchup against Saioa Gomez de Segura and Adina Spahalic losing by a score 9-7 as well.
Slippery Rock’s youth and inexperience in big games showed, and if the team were to hang on to their leads and close out the opponent, the outcome of Tuesday’s matchup may have turned out different
“We had them,” Coach Meredith said. “We were leading in all three doubles matches, and that would have been absolutely huge if we would have come up with wins in those three matches.”
The Lakers would go on to capitalize on their early lead and win the first two singles matches, effectively clinching the match win for Mercyhurst, with Gomez de Segura defeating Cohen 6-0, 6-3 and Plecevic securing a victory against Warner, 6-1, 6-0. With the outcome of the contest already decided, the last four singles matches were halted.
Even with the loss, Coach Meredith was impressed with the way the young Slippery Rock team battled against the juggernaut that is Mercyhurst University and offered some insight on what Rock tennis can do to set themselves up for success on Saturday.
“I’m very happy about the way we played in doubles,” Merdith said. “They competed, they fought, we just need to close it out next time, we need to know when to step on the gas and get the job done, but that is a part of being young. That will be a valuable learning experience for the team from here on out.”
The loss drops Rock tennis to 12-12 on the season, while Mercyhurst improves to a record of 21-1 and will advance to play Bloomsburg in the PSAC Tournament semifinals on Friday. Coach Meredith and the women in Green and White will now take the next few days to patch up Tuesday’s mistakes and set their focus on a pivotal matchup that will play a big factor in determining their NCAA Tournament fate on Saturday, against West Liberty (12-6) at 2 p.m.