FREDERICKSBURG, Va. - The Salisbury University women's tennis team fell one win shy of the Capital Athletic Conference championship, falling 8-1 to the University of Mary Washington Saturday afternoon in the conference title match.
The loss snaps Salisbury's program-record 20-match win streak. The last loss for the Sea Gulls came at the hands of Mary Washington earlier this season, on Feb. 23.
Junior Jessica Babyak and senior Victoria Handlin fell behind 3-1 to Cassie Bowman and Chrissy Gaul on Saturday and the Eagle duo rode the momentum for an 8-3 victory at No. 3 doubles and an early 1-0 lead.
At No. 1, freshman Natalie Savage and sophomore Roxanne Alban fell behind early, 3-0, to Lindsey Raulston and Shelby Harris, the No. 7 team in the Atlantic South, but the Sea Gull duo battled back to earn a break and cut the deficit to 3-2. The teams traded games before the Eagle duo earned another break for a 6-3 lead before sealing the win, 8-3.
The Sea Gulls' No. 2 pair, senior Elaina Iosue and sophomore Katie Youlios, got up early 2-1, but Alina Suyama and Mackenzie Smith earned a break and a hold to regain the lead at 3-2. The Eagles (18-4) proceeded to retain control throughout the match, earning an 8-4 win for a 3-0 lead after the doubles competition.
In singles action, the Sea Gulls captured their only point of the day via retirement at No. 6. Babyak went down 2-0 to Paige Weinberg before earning a break and cutting the lead to 3-2. Weinberg was then forced to retire with injury and the Sea Gulls (20-3) took their first point of the day to cut the Mary Washington lead to 3-1.
It was all Eagles from that point on, as Harris topped Iosue 6-2, 6-2 at No. 2, while at No. 1, Raulston, ranked No. 2 in the Atlantic South region, bested Savage 6-0 in the first set before rolling in the second 6-1 and snapping Savage's 19-match win streak.
Alban dropped the first set to Bowman 6-0, before grabbing an early 2-1 lead in the second. Bowman capitalized on a break to earn the victory, 6-3 at No. 3.
At No. 5, Gaul overtook Handlin 6-0 in the first before Handlin battled back in the second to grab a 4-3 lead before Gaul captured the win, 6-4.
At No. 4, Youlios and Alex Ritter were tangled in a close affair, 3-2, in the first before Ritter rattled off three-straight games for a 6-2 set win. In the second, Youlios took the first game before Ritter reeled off six straight games to earn the victory. The loss halted Youlios' 16-match win streak.
Saturday marks the final match in the Salisbury University tennis careers of Iosue, Handlin, and Jillian Poppe, who helped the Gulls to a program-best 20 wins this season.