WEST HARTFORD, Conn. – The University of Saint Joseph tennis team scored its first-post season victory since 2003 as the Blue Jays defeated Albertus Magnus 8-1 Wednesday in a first round match of the Great Northeast Athletic Conference Tournament on the USJ courts.
USJ advances to a GNAC Tournament semifinal match against No. 1 seed Simmons, Sat. Oct. 24 at the Winchester Tennis Center. Saturday's winners meet in the championship match, Sunday at 12:30 p.m.
USJ had qualified for the tournament in seven of the previous 11 years since the '03 semifinal appearance, but lost in its first match each time. Wednesday, the Blue Jays won their sixth consecutive match and even did better than the 7-2 regular-season victory over Albertus.
The match began with USJ taking a 3-0 lead by sweeping doubles play. Rebecca Mauri (Meriden, Conn.) and Lucy Roberge (Willington, Conn.) at No. 1 and the tandem of Sakinah Abdulsalam (Bristol, Conn.) and Ashley Savino (Old Saybrook, Conn.) at No. 2 both won 8-3 and Leah Nguyen (West Hartford, Conn.) and Natalia Rozio (Newington, Conn.) won 8-1.
The Blue Jays then took five of six singles matches for the final margin. Mauri at No. 1 and Abdulsalam, Savino, Tara Smith (Palmer, Mass.) and Serena Sundara (Windsor, Conn.) at the third through six spots all earned straight-sets wins for USJ. Smith and Sundara both earned the most decisive wins, 6-0, 6-0.