Although their NJAC season is complete, the women’s tennis team’s season is far from over. The Lions competed in the Intercollegiate Tennis Associations’ Northeast Regional Championships this past weekend hosted by William Smith College. Sixty-four doubles teams and 64 singles teams vied for the chance to compete in the championships in Alabama next month.
Sophomore Karisse Bendijo advanced all the way to the finals of both the singles and doubles competition. The No 3-ranked seed cruised through the first day, defeating Montana Wilson from SUNY New Paltz and Elizabeth Statchtiaris from New York University by scores of 6-0, 6-2 and 6-4, 6-0 respectively. On Saturday, she defeated top-ranked Frances Tseng from the University of Rochester in the semifinals 6-0, 6-2. Bendijo faced Epraksi Yushkova in the finals from Hunter College who was last year’s junior college national champion and took the tournament title, 6-3, 3-6 and 6-4.
In doubles play, sophomores Bendijo and Allison Tierney opened their campaign with an 8-1 win over a pair from William Smith College. They mimicked that score line against fellow New Jersey competitors from Richard Stockton College. Bendijo and Tierney’s record remained perfect at the end of Sunday’s competitions, as they were 12-0 going into the final round. The pair shut out Cristina Nunez and Becky Guzzo of Ithaca College before trouncingNo. 7 seeded Jamie Bow and Lia Weiner from the University of Rochester 8-2. Their opponents in the final were 8th ranked Stephanie Finn and Hillary Drewry from St. Lawrence. Bendijo and Tierney took the final 6-1 and 6-0, securing a spot in the ITA Small College Championships, taking place in Mobile, Al. on Oct. 14-17. The doubles pair earned ITA All-American honors as a result of their win.
The entire team advanced deep into the tournament. Sophomores Paige Aiello and Lauren Balsamo as well as the junior duo of Emily Petersack and Felice Trinh went 2-0 on their first day. Trinh and Petersack fell in the quarterfinal, losing 8-4 to Tseng and Alex Goodman from Rochester 8-4. Aiello and Balsamo fell to eventual finalists Finn and Drewry in the same round 8-5, putting a stop on their 10-game winning streak this season. Tierney and Balsamo’s singles campaigns would produce the same result. Tierney fell 6-0, 6-2 to Vivian Peng of Drew University and Balsamo lost to eventual singles finalist Yushkova 6-0, 6-1.