Posted: March 28, 2006
BETHLEHEM, Pa. – Two longtime rivals met on Tuesday afternoon and after dropping the doubles point, Lehigh won five out of six singles matches to earn a come-from-behind 5-2 win over visiting Lafayette in a marathon match that began outside on the Ulrich Varsity Courts, but ended inside the Lewis Tennis Center. The win pulls the Mountain Hawks back to .500 on the season at 7-7 and 1-0 in the Patriot League, while the Leopards fall to 6-2 in the spring, 0-1 in league matches.
“It was a long grueling match,” said Lehigh head coach Dave Shook. “Give Lafayette credit, they fought extremely hard. I’m pleased because even though we lost the doubles point, we battled back to win.”
The visiting Leopards struck first winning matches at first and third doubles to claim the opening point in the match. Lehigh’s only win came at second doubles where junior co-captain Gwen Dwyer and freshman Ariela Cohen defeated Lisa Fung-Kee-Fung and Lauren Clarke 8-3.
“We’re still in search of the Holy Grail,” said Shook in reference, to Lehigh’s doubles play. “We’re going to have to get better if we want to beat the top teams in our league. We cannot afford to lose doubles points and then try to work our way back in singles.”
Down 1-0 the Mountain Hawks made their comeback at singles. Junior Cessa Murasko-Blank struck first, winning 6-1, 6-0 over Meghan Fitzgerald to tie the match at one. Lehigh would then get straight set wins from freshman Allie Schwartz at fourth singles and Dwyer at first singles to get to three points, then Cohen clinched the match for the Mountain Hawks taking down Fung-Kee-Fung 6-4, 6-4 to give Lehigh its fifth consecutive win over the Leopards.
“The two freshmen (Cohen and Schwartz) won big matches for us,” Shook said. “Both of them really came through in what were tough singles matches, and picked up big wins in their first Lehigh-Lafayette match, which was huge.”
In the final match completed, sophomore Alexis Jacobi outlasted Julia Strang in three sets in a match that lasted so long, that darkness forced it to be completed inside the Lewis Tennis Center. Jacobi dropped the first set, then rallied to win the second. The third set went to a tiebreaker, in which Jacobi raced to a 6-1 lead, before an exhausted Strang battled back to tie it at six, before Jacobi earned the final two points to win the match.
The Mountain Hawks will return to the court on Thursday, April 6, when they host defending Patriot League Champion Army in a match that gets underway at 3:00 pm.
Lehigh 5 Lafayette 2
1. Saricas/Strang (LC) def. Jacobi/Foster (LU) 8-3
2. Dwyer/Cohen (LU) def. Fung-Kee-Fung/Clarke (LC) 8-3
3. Rosman/Bailey (LC) def. Donohue/Schwartz (LU) 8-5
1. Gwen Dwyer (LU) def. Chez Saricas (LC) 6-4, 6-4
2. Ariela Cohen (LU) def. Lisa Fung-Kee-Fung (LC) 6-4, 6-4
3. Alexis Jacobi (LU) def. Julia Strang (LC) 4-6, 6-4, 7-6 (8-6)
4. Allie Schwartz (LU) def. Lauren Clarke (LC) 6-1, 6-3
5. Ansley Scudder (LC) def. Lindsay Long (LU) 6-2, 6-4
6. Cessa Murasko-Blank (LU) def. Meghan Fitzgerald (LC) 6-1, 6-0