TENNIS : Syracuse dominates Connecticut in regular-season finale

first_img Comments Published on April 25, 2011 at 12:00 pm Facebook Twitter Google+center_img Aleah Marrow and her teammates laughed as ‘Teach Me How to Dougie’ came on the speakers. Marrow stood two courts away from Athletic Director Daryl Gross, giving him a sharp look and urging him to take part. Marrow swung her arms, slicked her hair, stopped and waited for the rebuttal.After not wanting to participate, Gross finally relented with a quick response of his own.The dance competition proved that Syracuse had swagger after a match in which it shut out Connecticut. It marked the end of the regular season and symbolized SU’s confidence boost heading into postseason play.‘It’s a great way to finish the season, and we were all really fired up to play this match,’ freshman Maddie Kobelt said. ‘It’s nice to have this match to get us back into the swing of things as far as competition goes to push into the Big East (tournament) coming up this weekend.’Minutes prior to Marrow’s dance-off, Kobelt’s win capped Syracuse’s dominating 7-0 win over Connecticut at Drumlins Tennis Center on Friday. The match provided the Orange with its last chance to sharpen up the loose ends before traveling to South Bend, Ind., for the Big East tournament, which begins Thursday. The convincing win provided the Orange with a breath of confidence heading into the conference tournament.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textThe game held significance for Syracuse players, who looked to send a message to the rest of the league with their performance. SU players arrived an extra 15 minutes early to prepare for their final Big East tuneup against their perennial rivals.The Orange jumped out to an early lead by sweeping the doubles point. Junior Emily Harman said the team shares a common attitude it hopes leaves an impression on the rest of the Big East.‘It sets the tone for us in the Big East,’ Harman said. ‘Before, in my freshman year, they didn’t respect us, it was something like, ‘Who’s Syracuse?’ Now everyone knows who we are, and we’re a definite threat. No one wants to play us because of our attitude and how much we fight on the court.’The attitude was felt both on and off the court. The overall match was settled with a complete sweep, as each of Syracuse’s singles players conquered her respective opponents in straight sets.Harman closed out her match in signature fashion by breezing past UConn opponent Jennifer Lermonth 6-1, 6-4 at the No. 1 singles position. Marrow won at the No. 6 singles position with a decisive victory over Lucy Nutting 6-4, 6-2.The Orange has won 17 of its last 18 singles matches heading into the Big East tournament — something Syracuse head coach Luke Jensen said makes his team ready for the challenge. With an astounding victory against the Huskies, he still feels SU has not reached its peak in performance, but the players are ready to take down some of the giants in the conference.A collective swagger is felt at every position in the lineup. The Orange feels it can be a legitimate threat to knock off its next competitor, and Friday’s performance is one reason why.‘They believe in everybody in this lineup,’ Jensen said. ‘Whether it’s one, six, seven or eight, it doesn’t matter. We practice so hard to get to this point, we run so much to get them physically fit for the tournament coming up next week. I know they’re ready.Syracuse’s overall sense of character shone through during the trying moments of Kobelt’s match. Kobelt said that through her preparation with both Jensen and associate head coach Shelley George, she was able to make some spur-of-the-moment changes to take a tactical advantage. This led her to victory in the final match of the overall contest.It was a victory that came after Kobelt trailed 5-0 to UConn’s Alexa Gregory. The Huskies No. 3 singles player stood perplexed as she watched her first set lead disappear after Kobelt won five straight games to tie the score at 5-5.It took five points for the Syracuse freshman to settle into a rhythm, but Kobelt was able to swipe the first set away in a tiebreak (8-6) before running away with her team-best 33rd win with a 6-2 victory in the second set.After that, it was time to dance. The swagger is there heading into postseason play, and Kobelt proved no Orange player is going down without a fight.‘They’re all fired up,’ Jensen said. ‘Everyone wants to be there and go there now.’[email protected]last_img read more

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