WEST HARTFORD, Conn. – The University of Saint Joseph (USJ) tennis team ended up on the wrong side of a back-and-forth battle with the Wentworth Institute of Technology (WIT) Leopards, which made an impressive comeback behind senior Olivia Deluca (Dunstable, Mass.) in number two doubles and singles, to claim a 5-4 victory Tuesday at the Hall High School Tennis Courts.
With the win, the Leopards have won back-to-back matches and sit at 2-2, while the Blue Jays fall to 1-2. It would ultimately come down to two matches; number two doubles and singles. In the second doubles' match, which is only one set, first to eight games, sophomore Carolyn Callahan (Southington, Conn.) and freshman Marie Emerson (Killingworth, Conn.) showed great teamwork, and raced out to a 7-3 lead. The Leopards came storming back behind the senior duo of Deluca and Sam McGibbon (Pembroke, Mass.), who tied the match at seven-a-piece, forcing a tiebreaker.
WIT raced out to a 4-1 lead in the tiebreak (which is normally to seven), but then it was the Blue Jays turn to battle back, tying it at four-all. It would remain a stalemate until 8-8, before the Leopards scored back-to-back points to seal the match, 8-7 (10-8). WIT took a 2-1 lead overall heading into singles competition.
Both teams kept it close through singles, and it would once again come down to the match in the second position, with the score tied, 4-4. Freshman Elaina Griffiths (Guilford, Conn.) took a 5-4 lead in the second set, after dropping the first, 6-3. Once again, it was the senior, Deluca, who provided the heroics, winning three straight games under pressure to take the set, the match, and lift the Leopards to victory.
USJ had a lot to show despite the loss, as freshman Elke Moser Melis (Nijmegen, Netherlands) was impressive in her first career singles match as a Blue Jay, winning in straight sets, 6-4, 6-2. Senior captain Domonique Carnot (Meriden, Conn.) also picked up another win in singles, 6-3, 6-3, as well as in doubles, alongside freshman Emily Kerr (Portland, Conn.), 8-1. Kerr picked up a convincing singles win too, 6-0, 6-2.
WIT 5 | USJ 4
1. Ali Sollecito/Morgan Collins (WIT) def. Jessica McAllister/Elaina Griffiths (USJ) 8-2
2. Olivia Deluca/Sam McGibbon (WIT) def. Carolyn Callahan/Marie Emerson (USJ) 8-7 (10-8)
3. Domonique Carnot/Emily Kerr (USJ) def. Cici Deakin/Hannah Erickson (WIT) 8-1
1. Ali Sollecito (WIT) def. Jessica McAllister (USJ) 6-1, 6-1
2. Olivia Deluca (WIT) def. Elaina Griffiths (USJ) 6-3, 7-5
3. Domonique Carnot (USJ) def. Sam McGibbon (WIT) 6-3, 6-3
4. Morgan Collins (WIT) def. Carolyn Callahan (USJ) 6-4, 6-1
5. Emily Kerr (USJ) def. Hannah Erickson (WIT) 6-0, 6-2
6. Elke Moser Melis (USJ) def. Cici Deakin (WIT) 6-4, 6-2
The USJ tennis team will host intrastate foe Western Connecticut State on Thursday, September 12 at 4:00 p.m. at Hall High School.