Syracuse dominates Pittsburgh, 5-2, after dropping doubles point

first_img Published on April 5, 2019 at 8:34 pm Contact Arabdho: [email protected] | @aromajumder Facebook Twitter Google+ Syracuse head coach Younes Limam needed his team to “wake up” in doubles, he said. While Pittsburgh players shouted an extended “Si” after winning points and extended their fist pumps, SU players gave a muted “Come on.” Their only wide gestures came after errors.“I just heard the other team being extremely passionate and playing with a lot of energy,” Limam said. “Doubles is about 30 minutes, 45 minutes, and if you don’t bring it early on, you’re going to have your back against the wall, and I think that’s what happened.”During the break between singles and doubles, Limam told his players that they needed to bring more intensity the rest of the match. Syracuse (12-8, 5-6 Atlantic Coast) responded to its coach’s message, coming back to beat Pittsburgh (4-14, 0-11), 5-2, and preserve the Orange’s decade-long winning streak against the Panthers.“It gave me a lot of energy,” Dina Hegab said of Limam’s words before singles. “I had a lot of negative energy … I was just mad, and I think it was just helping me a lot.”Their home win broke a two-match losing skid and marked the third time the Orange have come back after dropping the doubles point. Limam has said throughout the season that he believes SU has the talent to win all six singles points, and that statement was nearly proved true on Friday. Syracuse’s only singles loss came when Guzal Yusupova retired while leading by a set.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textAs Gabriela Knutson and Miranda Ramirez fell behind on court three and Hegab and Yusupova did the same on court one, there were murmurs from the crowd. Coming into Friday, Pittsburgh had picked up just six points against ACC opponents, and lost its last four by a combined score of 28-0. Something was off with SU to start.Knutson wasn’t hitting the ball with the normal power she’s shown, swinging and missing through routine forehands with her right arm featuring a black sleeve. After one missed first serve into the net, Knutson dropped her sleeved arm and shook it, squinting in pain. As the misses and errors piled up, Knutson’s face scrunched up with a worried look, one not even Ramirez’s smile could make go away.Knutson and Ramirez were the first to fall, 6-2, but on court two, Sofya Golubovskaya and Sonya Treshcheva kept Pitt from clinching the point by earning a break midway through the set. But even as they went on to win 6-3, there were moments of miscommunication, including one point where they both pulled back from a ball between them, then gave each other a look to suggest the other should have played it. Yusupova and Hegab finished soon after with a 6-4 loss, erasing any impact of Golubovskaya and Treshcheva’s win on court two.“We just missed a lot of returns, we didn’t get into the rallies and we started a little bit flat at the beginning,” Limam said of Hegab and Yusupova. “And in doubles, you play one set, and if you’re down 3-0, it gets complicated.”After doubles finished, Knutson took her sleeve off, put on a sweatshirt and packed her bag. She would watch the rest of the dual from the sideline along with Treshcheva. Limam walked over to the pair and told them, “Be as loud as you’ve ever been.” Even as she iced her right forearm, Knutson tried to clap and yelled encouragement at Ramirez on the court closest to her.Pittsburgh’s yells of “Si” continued to echo around Drumlins Country Club. But it started to mix with groans of frustration from the Panthers. Syracuse asserted itself immediately in singles, taking all six first sets.With two of her accounting professors cheering her on from the bleachers, Ramirez moved into first singles seamlessly, filling in for Knutson. She held on serve to win the second set and clinch a straight sets victory, her fifth win in her last six matches, and turned to smile and thank her professors for coming.Golubovskaya similarly transitioned to second singles and cruised past Pittsburgh’s lone ranked singles player, Claudia Bartolome. She remained nonchalant for most of the match, even while winning, but after one error by Bartolome which caused the Pitt player to shout in frustration, Golubovskaya turned to Treshcheva and laughed.“We should have done a much better job shutting them down,” Hegab said. “This is something we can learn from today and have a better start in doubles.”Mesh and Hegab also won in straight sets, neither giving up more than three games in a set, leaving Masha Tritou at fourth singles. The only match that went all three sets, its final frame was shortened into a super tiebreaker as SU had already clinched the win. Neither player was able to grab a mini-break and go on a run, but Tritou edged out her opponent, Camila Moreno, 10-8.Moreno hesitated for a second after losing, standing on the block “S” behind the baseline, contemplating her next move. Then she smashed the ball in her hand into the backdrop. After a day that started with Pittsburgh’s cheers, the final sound reverberating throughout Drumlins was a boom confirming Tritou and Syracuse’s victory. Commentslast_img

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