Syracuse earns 2nd ranked win of the season against No. 15 Florida State

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on March 24, 2019 at 4:29 pm Contact Arabdho: armajumd@syr.edu | @aromajumder Libi Mesh’s racket lay on court No. 5 between the baseline and service line. She’d dropped it there before going to the net to shake hands with her opponent, and as she returned to pick it up, her hands covered her mouth to control her emotions. Her loss had put Syracuse down 3-1 against Florida State, on the brink of a sixth-straight loss to a ranked opponent.About an hour later, Sofya Golubovskaya’s racket lay in a similar position to Mesh’s on court No. 2. She too had dropped it. But Golubovskaya did so to embrace her teammates that were all lined up on the neighboring court, watching as she clinched No. 32 Syracuse’s (11-6, 4-4 Atlantic Coast) come-from-behind, 4-3 win against No. 15 Florida State (14-4, 6-2) on Sunday at Drumlins Country Club.“My mindset was to stay composed on the tight points and to not rush,” Golubovskaya said. “I think I did a great job of following that.”SU dropped the doubles point, losing at all three spots, but Miranda Ramirez and Golubovskaya both said the Orange played well in doubles, which allowed them to easily refocus for singles.Ramirez and Gabriela Knutson started the day in a light, joking mood, which they’ve said helps them play better. But when they gave up a break midway through the set and eventually dropped the match at first doubles, Knutson began to wave her arms in frustration after FSU winners and biting her fingernails nervously. It culminated in her bouncing her racket off the ground after hitting a backhand too long on match point, and as she walked to the bench, her lips were tightly pursed.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textIt didn’t take Knutson long to start smiling again, though. The No. 40 ranked singles player was the first to finish, beating No. 26 Carla Touly, 6-4, 6-0, for her third-straight ranked win.“I think she was still in a good spot, she still played really well,” Ramirez said about Knutson. “She was very confident in her singles, so I trust her too.”Susie Teuscher | Digital Design EditorFSU responded with wins at fourth and sixth singles. Mesh only won three games in her match, and Sonya Treshcheva, playing her first singles match since Feb. 3, fell 6-4, 6-1. Dina Hegab’s straight set win at fifth singles was the start of the Orange’s comeback. Soon after, No. 90 Ramirez was on the verge of clinching a third point for SU. She took a second set tiebreak, 8-6, after winning the first set, 6-2. Ramirez said her opponent started playing much better in the second set, putting pressure on her, but having played in these situations before, the SU junior finished the match.On court No. 2, Golubovskaya dropped the first set, then battled back with a forehand winner to take the second frame, 6-4, prompting strength and conditioning coach William Hicks to cheer, “Great work Sofya, great work.”The Russian sophomore said the turning point of her match came at one-all in the third set with Oparenovic up 40-0. Golubovskaya came back to win that game, but as the set continued, it remained tight, and neither player gave up breaks or many break opportunities. By this time, Ramirez had finished her tiebreak, and she also walked over to court No. 3 to watch Golubovskaya play.Corey Henry | Staff PhotographerAssociate head coach Shelley George sat on Golubovskaya’s bench, discussing her game plan and telling her to stay calm, and head coach Younes Limam and volunteer assistant coach Len Lopoo stood with the other players, cheering, but not advising Golubovskaya. On the other side of the net, the Seminoles had a coach at Oparenovic’s bench, while their head coach, Jennifer Hyde, was also giving instructions to the Slovenian senior.Normally reserved, Limam began to encourage his players to start a “Let’s go Orange” chant as the players got ready to serve, which echoed through the enclosed Drumlins space. At one point, the chair umpire raised his arm to signal silence and had to turn behind him to the players to quiet them.“We were so stressed,” Ramirez said about watching from the sideline. “I watch her match just as if I’m playing a match too. We support her fully, back her fully, we have all the nerves that she has too.”At 4-4, Golubovskaya got into Oparenovic’s service game. At 0-15 and 0-30, Limam pumped his fist and leaned in Golubovskaya’s direction, and after a backhand winner to create triple break point, the sophomore reciprocated and turned to the SU players and coaches on the sideline. Oparenovic survived the three break points, though, and held at deuce off a Golubovskaya unforced error, causing the SU sophomore to throw her racket to the ground and kick it while yelling in Russian.The next Oparenovic service game, it was the FSU senior’s turn to show frustration. A double fault gave Golubovskaya triple break point again, and Oparenovic kicked a ball at the back curtain. This time, Golubovskaya secured the break, and Emmanuelle Salas was the one covering her mouth on the sideline before joining Touly in biting her fingernails. The next game, Golubovskaya had three match points but needed just one. A wide serve was returned out by Oparenovic, and SU had completed the comeback.“I was hearing only my teammates, that’s what I was focusing on,” Golubovskaya said. “I didn’t try to listen to what the other team was saying. … It was amazing, they helped me so much.”Limam’s hands-off approach, as seen in how he handled watching Golubovskaya’s clinching match, hasn’t led to much success against ranked opposition, unlike FSU’s more instruction-heavy method. The Seminoles have five ranked wins to the Orange’s one, but on Sunday, it was SU that came out on top. Not much changed, Ramirez said, just a few points here and there. Golubovskaya attributed it to not having anything to lose.“We just went there and we competed,” Golubovskaya said. “We did our best today, and on every single court, girl’s just left everything. I think that’s what changed.”It was also just the second time this season the Orange have come back after losing the doubles point, the first against ranked opposition. At the start of the day, it was FSU’s composure and lack of negative emotion compared to the SU’s racket throwing and arm waving that gave the Seminoles a lead.By the end of it, the roles had reversed, and while Golubovskaya and Oparenovic both dropped their rackets at the end of the match, only one kicked it on the ground. The other was celebrating. Commentslast_img read more