BETHLEHEM, Pa. – The Bucknell women’s tennis team put together three solid days of competition this weekend, concluding its fall tournament season with the Lehigh Invitational, held on the Ulrich Tennis Courts in Bethlehem, Pa. The Bison were joined by Lehigh, Army, Loyola and Temple in the un-scored event, and the team saw action in both doubles and singles play over the course of the weekend.
Bucknell met up with Leigh and Army for rounds of doubles play, winning two of the four matches contested against the Mountain Hawks, and dropping three decisions to the Black Knights. Sophomore Maria Cioffi and senior Elena Vidrascu defeated Cassidy Cruz and Jenai Bilimoria 8-3, while freshman Michele Urbinati and freshman Jorie Fox also earned a victory, outscoring Marian Prim and Jill Sloand 8-1.
“Army always plays aggressive doubles,” noted head coach Rebecca Helt. “We had a lot of opportunities to win games, but we just didn’t close out the points aggressively. This will be an area of focus during the off-season.”
The Bison saw a considerable amount of action against Loyola through three days of play, competing against the Greyhounds in both singles and doubles. The team played solid and smart singles to come away with wins in six of the eight matches contested, including Cioffi’s impressive victory over Megan Hahn, a competitor that she has lost to twice previously this season. After dropping the first set 2-6, the sophomore put up an incredible battle in the second, earning a 7-6 win to tie the match at a set a piece. The third set super breaker saw each player putting together quality, high-level points through an intense round that Cioffi won 20-18 after hitting a service winner. Junior Lydia Colvin, Urbinati, Fox, senior Elizabeth Morgan and sophomore Stephanie Pino also earned victories in singles play against Loyola.
Three of the four doubles matches that the Bison played against the Greyhounds resulted in victory, led by Cioffi and Urbinati who earned an 8-0 win over Katelyn Hissong and Ania Krawiec. Colvin and Vidrascu defeated Hahn and Tiffany Ash 8-6, while freshman Melissa Parks and Morgan rounded out the trio of wins with an 8-5 victory over Meredith Dwyer and Alexandra Billups.
“We took the opportunity against Loyola to look at some different combinations as we begin to think about spring line-up possibilities,” said Helt. “We have a lot of options, and it is just good to see that we have a lot of depth in our doubles talent.”
Bucknell concluded a busy weekend with six singles matches against Temple, earning two wins over the Owls. Cioffi won her fourth bout of the weekend, defeating Yana Mavrina 6-5, 6-5, while Vidrascu registered her third win with a 6-4, 2-6, 10-8 triumph over Alicia Doms.
“They competed hard and played really well against a very good Temple team,” said Helt. “A couple of hard-fought tie break losses and a few solid wins in the top spots is a really strong performance against this squad. It shows what we’re capable of doing, and with some hard off-season work the spring campaign looks to be a good one.”
With the fall tournament season in the books, the Bison will begin a rigorous strength and conditioning schedule in preparation for the 2014 spring season.