Women's Tennis Goes Down to the Wire to Beat F&M

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Men’s golf

It was no sweat for the Muhlenberg women’s tennis team against Franklin & Marshall.

That doesn’t mean there wasn’t plenty of drama; the match came down to the final match on the court. But when Mule sophomore Emily Szulman finished off her three-set victory at No. 2 singles, she had hardly broken a sweat because the wind chill was dipping into the low 30s.

Nina Sanders
Sanders’ straight-sets win was her first career victory at No. 1 singles.

Despite having all eyes on her in the final match on the court, Szulman remained cool under pressure, using her strong serve to win the final two sets and clinch the 5-4 Mule victory. It’s Muhlenberg’s 10th win in its last 11 meetings with the Diplomats.

“I knew everybody was watching, but I don’t really think about it or let it get to me,” she said. “I was just focused on winning for the team. That’s all I think about when I’m out there.”

The Mules (2-4, 2-2) dropped their matches at No. 1 and No. 3 doubles, but freshman Jennifer Goldberg and sophomore Gabriela Contino held off a late Diplomat rally to win what would prove to be a big point at second doubles, 8-6. It was the duo’s first win as a team.

Then sophomore Nina Sanders took care of business in impressive fashion at No. 1 singles, posting a 6-1, 6-2 win, and Goldberg also won in straight sets, 6-4, 6-2, at No. 3 to keep Muhlenberg alive.

After F&M (3-5, 0-3) won at Nos. 5 and 6 singles, the focus turned to Szulman and freshman Sharen Resnikoff, who had each come back from first-set losses to force third sets.

After needing a tiebreak to win her second set, Resnikoff carried the momentum to a 6-3 win in the third, which she clinched with a strong cross-court, forehand winner. Her victory moved her to 3-1 in Centennial Conference matches and evened the team score 4-4, throwing the spotlight onto court 2.

Szulman admitted she was a little sluggish in the early stages of her match. But she started to get comfortable late in the first set and took command, winning the next two, 6-1, 6-4, to seal the victory and remain undefeated in CC play.

When she finally closed out her match more than four hours after her first doubles serve, her teammates came running onto the court to give her hugs and high fives. And while she said she was bundled up in several layers of sweatshirts and sweatpants, she said that moment made her feel as warm as a midsummer’s day.

“When it’s cold like this, it takes me a little while to warm up, which is why I think we were off in doubles,” Szulman said. “But once I got past the first set in singles, I got loose and started to play better. I really wanted to win this one for the team, especially after not winning in doubles. I’m so happy we won today.”
Click here for box score.