Syracuse sweeps Temple, clinches program-record 19 wins
Anastasiia Rukavyshnykova could sense it. The match was slipping away from her. And Syracuse’s CC Sardinha would not relent.
And on top of everything, umpire Charlotte Dlugolenski overturned her line call. Down four games to two in the second set, Rukavyshnykova’s frustration came out toward the umpire. She barked her dissatisfaction but returned to the baseline.
‘I called the ball the way I saw it,’ Dlugolenski said. ‘I have to be verbally asked by the player whether the ball was in or out. I saw it in so I called it in, and that’s probably what caused a little bit of controversy.’
Line calls aside, Sardinha inflicted enough frustration on Rukavyshnykova to cruise to a 6-2, 6-1 victory. And in SU’s final regular-season match of the season, Rukavyshnykova’s trials
exhibited what opponents have come to realize all season — this is the best Orange tennis team ever. Good enough to irritate opponents nearly every time out.
The Orange swept Temple 7-0 Saturday to bring its final record to 19-2. It is the best finish in SU history. To add to that, the team finished off the year undefeated at Drumlins Tennis Center, its home court, and is riding a 13-game winning streak into the postseason.
Despite a few bumps along the way, coming in the form of those questionable line calls and a match that wouldn’t end, Syracuse defeated Temple 7-0.
‘They know exactly what needs to be done,’ head coach Luke Jensen said. ‘They are not fazed by what’s on the other side.’
The team has a program-record 19 wins. SU’s success is due in large part to Sardinha, who as a freshman is playing the No. 1 spot.
The numbers are a testament to the program Jensen has built. It is a last hoorah for the seniors who will not get to play another home game for Syracuse.
But perhaps most especially, the numbers stem from the mental position SU has put its opponents in time and time again.
Sardinha beat Rukavyshnykova at the No. 1 spot by the largest margin of anyone on the team. Orange volunteer assistant coach Chuck Wiggins was coaching Sardinha’s match. And Wiggins thought Sardinha’s performance was next to perfect. Despite the excitement on the other side of the net, the freshman was unrelenting with her focus.
‘I don’t think she struggled with a whole lot today,’ Wiggins said. ‘She’s a fighter from the beginning of the match until the end of the match, and she will not give up until the last ball is struck. I really couldn’t find much fault with her today.’
But Sardinha’s opponent was not the roll-over-and-die kind of player. Sardinha acknowledged that Rukavyshnykova was a more challenging adversary than many she has faced this season.
Rukavyshnykova made her frustration apparent in her questions to the official. In the second set, with Sardinha up 4-2, Rukavyshnykova called Sardinha’s serve out. Unsure about the accuracy of her opponent’s call, Sardinha checked the umpire, who overruled the call, deeming the ball in play. Sardinha won the point, and the serve was recorded as an ace. Rukavyshnykova was not pleased.
Throughout the match, Sardinha maintained her composure. She found her opponent’s weak spot, her forehand, and tried to consistently hit it there until Rukavyshnykova made an error.
Sophomore Alessondra Parra’s match was somewhat of a struggle. The longest match of the day by far, it ended three hours and 21 minutes after the matches started. Eleanor Peters finished her match before Parra had even started her second set.
If consistency was what helped Sardinha win her match, a lack of it was what slowed Parra down, at least in the first set.
‘I kept going down and then getting back up, so it was pretty inconsistent on my part and I was teetering,’ Parra said. ‘It was very close — she almost pulled it out.’
Parra simply tried to get every ball in during the second set, and that rhythm allowed her to close it out, 6-3.
Other than a few hiccups, including the longest match of the day in Parra’s win, SU was dominant. And finishing the record-breaking season with a sweep sends a clear message to the opponents Syracuse will face in the Big East championship in a little less than two weeks.
The nuisance is coming.
‘(The 19th win) just means that after all the hard work they’ve put in, it’s going to be tough to beat us,’ Jensen said.
Thomas Wolfe is leaving his position as senior vice president and dean of student affairs to become the new president of Iliff School of Theology… Read more »
UPDATED: MAY 15, 4:35 p.m. Syracuse University students will soon see new living options in downtown Syracuse, after a new construction company revamps a vacant… Read more »
THEY'RE BACK: Syracuse pulls off furious comeback win against Yale to return to final four after longest absence since 1979
COLLEGE PARK, Md. — Brian Megill sprinted over to Dominic Lamolinara and catapulted into his arms. The game was over. The unthinkable was no longer… Read more »