ORLANDO, Fla. – The Ursinus College women's tennis team gave regionally ranked Oglethorpe all it could handle in the first of its two matches Tuesday, ultimately winding up on the short side of a 5-4 decision that came down to the last court. The Bears responded to their first loss of the season with a 7-2 victory over Alvernia in the night session.
Match 1: Oglethorpe 5, Ursinus 4
In a reversal of the usual format, the teams kicked things off with singles play, where the Bears emerged victorious in a pair of three-set thrillers to remain step for step with the regionally ranked Stormy Petrels.
Sorelle took the first set, 7-5, from Hannah Dattilo, who retired with a 2-1 lead in the second set at number two. Junior Aileen Bevard outlasted Caroline Johnson 6-4, 4-6, 1-0 (10-5) at number one before senior Christine Palazzolo stormed back from a 7-5 deficit in the third-set super tiebreaker before rolling up five of the next six points for a hard-earned 10-8 triumph. Palazzolo dropped the first set, 6-2, to Delaney Abood, but came back to take the second set by a 7-5 count before the back-and-forth finish.
Sorelle and Danziger ripped Johnson and Abood, 8-1, at number two doubles to deliver Ursinus a 4-3 lead, but Shannon Cruz and Halley Sickling again brought the two sides to level ground with an 8-5 defeat of Bevard and junior Ashley Nguyen at number one.
It all came down to third doubles, where Palazzolo and senior Robin Alsher came up on the short end of an 8-6 battle with Taylor Crawford and Ingrid Wilcox.
"Of course the girls were very disappointed to lose – they put in a tremendous effort and fell just short," head coach Pete Smith said. "Oglethorpe is ranked No. 13 in the region for a reason. They are a very strong team from top to bottom, and my hat is off to them. But I see plenty of positives despite the loss. We got contributions from lots of different players up and down the line-up, and we showed we can play with some of the best teams in the region. I am really proud of the girls, and I think this team is coming together quickly and really moving in the right direction."
Match 2: Ursinus 7, Alvernia 2
Danziger and Sorelle coasted to an 8-2 victory over Alyssa Boyd and Emily Thek at second doubles, and Alsher and Palazzolo prevailed, 8-3, on the third court. Bevard and Nguyen registered an 8-5 win against Cassandra Noray and Amanda Phillips at number one to complete the doubles sweep.
The Crusaders bookended singles play with victories by Noray at number one and Xena Sperrazza at number six; Sperrazza outlasted freshman Kiley Addis by a final of 2-6, 7-5, 1-0 (10-6) in Addis' collegiate debut.
The Bears dominated in between, with Alsher routing Bean 6-1, 6-0 at fifth singles and Sorelle dialing up a 6-0, 6-2 result at number two. Nguyen defeated Boyd 6-0, 6-3 at number three, and Danziger registered a 6-0, 6-4 final opposite Thek at fourth singles.
The Bears take on King's (Pa.) Wednesday at 8 a.m.