WEST HARTFORD, Conn. – After more than four hours of nail-biting tennis, the University of Saint Joseph (USJ) tennis team fell just short of back-to-back victories to start the season, falling to the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth (UMD) in what felt like a fall classic, 5-4, on Thursday at the Hall High School Tennis Courts.
It came down to the final set of the final singles match to determine a winner, as freshman Marie Emerson (Killingworth, Conn.) for USJ and junior Jordan Martin (Taunton, Mass.) for UMD battled back and forth into the night under the lights. Emerson provided some clutch volleys down the stretch to take the second set, 7-5, after dropping the first 6-3. Lights had to be turned on for the deciding third set, which Martin quickly controlled, going up 5-0, but Emerson would not go down, battling back to 5-2 after a 16-deuce second point. She nearly had a break point to make it 5-3, but Martin sealed the deal after falling behind 0-30.
With the victory, the Corsairs start the year 1-0, while the Blue Jays slip to 1-1. USJ will be back in action in their first road match Saturday at Eastern Nazarene at 1:00 p.m.
The Blue Jays took one of three doubles matches, 8-5, as sophomore Carolyn Callahan (Southington, Conn.) and freshman Marie Emerson (Killingworth, Conn.) maintained control throughout, racing to a 4-1 lead. USJ trailed the overall 4-1 heading into the final four singles matches. It would have to be four straight wins to take the overall. Senior Domonique Carnot (Meriden, Conn.) snagged the first, 6-4, 6-0, while Callahan followed up her doubles win with a singles triumph, 6-2, 6-3. Freshman Emily Kerr (Portland, Conn.) made it three straight with a decisive 6-0, 6-1 victory, leaving it to Emerson and Martin for their hard-hitting heroics. After Martin's marathon match point, both players slowly made their way to the net, visibly exhausted. All they could do, in victory or defeat, was hug it out.
UMD 5 | USJ 4
1. Rachel Aftandilian/Jaime Fastino (UMD) def. Jessica McAllister/Elaina Griffiths (USJ) 8-7 (7-5)
2. Carolyn Callahan/Marie Emerson (USJ) def. Michelle Aftandilian/Jordan Martin (UMD) 8-5
3. Hana Hershey/Natasha Shiku (UMD) def. Domonique Carnot/Elke Moser Melis (USJ) 8-1
1. Jaime Fastino (UMD) def. Jessica McAllister (USJ) 6-0, 6-0
2. Michelle Aftandilian (UMD) def. Elaina Griffiths (USJ) 6-0, 7-5
3. Domonique Carnot (USJ) def. Rachel Aftandilian (UMD) 6-4, 6-0
4. Carolyn Callahan (USJ) def. Melanie Wong (UMD) 6-2, 6-3
5. Emily Kerr (USJ) def. Jackie Bokis (UMD) 6-0, 6-1
6. Jordan Martin (UMD) def. Marie Emerson (USJ) 6-3, 5-7, 6-2
The USJ tennis team will hit the road for the first time, taking on Eastern Nazarene Saturday, September 7 at 1:00 p.m.