Chowan Claims 2016 CIAA Women’s Tennis Championship
RALEIGH, NC – It was a classic battle, but in the end, it was the Chowan Hawks that battled their way to a 5-2 win over the Shaw Lady Bears (17-3) in the 2016 Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) Women's Tennis Championship match. The Hawks dug deep to claim their second championship in three seasons, Saturday morning at Millbrook Tennis Complex.
With the win, the Hawks move past a disappointing loss in last season's championship match.
"After last year, we knew that we had unfinished business," Chowan Director of Tennis Chris Stambaugh said. "Last year was so heartbreaking with the way that it all happened. We put in a lot of work to get over the hump and we reversed all that. We knew where we were going, we know what we wanted and I'm so proud of the women on this team and so proud to be a part of Chowan."
Neither team would relent for the entire match. The Hawks had an early advantage as the short-handed Lady Bears forfeited a point at #3 doubles. From there, Chowan would push their lead to 2-0 when the #1 duo of Polina Novachuk and Victoria Smolchenkova took an 8-2 win in doubles play. Shaw would strike back, however, when Marilyne Kamagne and Andrijana Martic took an 8-5 win at #2 doubles to cut the deficit in half. Heading into singles play, the Chowan Hawks held a 2-1 lead.
Chowan once again claimed a forfeit win at #6 singles to push their lead to 3-1. From there, Shaw's Martic added a 6-0, 6-2 win at #4 singles. Chowan answered the challenge when Smolchenkova claimed a 6-2, 6-1 win at #2 singles to give the Hawks just one more win needed to secure the win. Chowan senior Jessica De Backre sealed the victory when she finished a marathon singles match that lasted well over two hours long with a 7-5, 3-6, 6-2 win to claim the 5-2 victory.
For her efforts, De Backre was named the 2016 CIAA Women's Tennis Championship Tournament MVP. "This was her [De Backre] last tournament and her last match in the tournament and everything did hinge on her result," Stambaugh added. "So she won that first set, it was a struggle in the second set, and for her to come back in the third with so much pressure as a senior…She put it all out there and I couldn't be more proud."
With the win, the Hawks claim their second CIAA championship in the last three seasons. The team will await selection for the upcoming 2016 NCAA Division II Atlantic Region Tournament. The selection show is set to air May 3rd at 8:30pm on www.ncaa.com
Chowan 5, Shaw 2
4/30/2016 at Raleigh, N.C. (Millbrook Tennis Center)
1. NOVACHUK,Polina (CU-W) vs. Ana Ruzir (SHAW) unfinished
2. SMOLCHENKOVA,Victori (CU-W) def. Teodora Jovanovic (SHAW) 6-2
3. CARRIER,Cynthia (CU-W) vs. Marilyne Kamagne (SHAW) unfinished
4. Andrijana Martic (SHAW) def. GOUIN,Angelique (CU-W) 6-0, 6-2
5. DE BACKRE,Jessica (CU-W) def. Simbiat Aleem (SHAW) 7-5, 3-6, 6-2
6. DANESHJOO,Roxana (CU-W) def. No player (SHAW), by forfeit
1. NOVACHUK,Polina/SMOLCHENKOVA,Victori (CU-W) def. Ana Ruzir/Teodora Jovanovic (SHAW) 8-2
2. Andrijana Martic/Marilyne Kamagne (SHAW) def. CARRIER,Cynthia/GOUIN,Angelique (CU-W) 8-5
3. DANESHJOO,Roxana/MAKHNEVA,Anna (CU-W) def. No player/No player (SHAW), by forfeit