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Binghamton women’s tennis garners top seed for upcoming America East Championship
Veteran lineup of three seniors, three juniors look to propel BU to its first conference title
April 28, 2011
VESTAL, N.Y.—The Binghamton University women’s tennis team (11-8) earned the No. 1 seed for the upcoming America East Championship this weekend at Yale University. Similar to last season, the Bearcats will carry the top seed into the championship as the squad looks for its first conference title.
The Bearcats will play the winner of the first-round matchup between fourth-seeded UMBC and fifth-seeded Albany in a semifinal on Saturday at 1 p.m. Second-seeded Boston University, who has rattled off 17 straight America East Championship crowns, will face either third-seeded Stony Brook or sixth-seeded Hartford in the other semifinal match Saturday at 1 p.m. The winner of each semifinal match will meet in the championship final on Sunday at 11 a.m.
Binghamton enters the America East Championship on a winning streak of five games or more for the seventh consecutive season. This season, BU has recorded six consecutive triumphs, dating back to March 26.
“We’ve spent the last two weeks really fine tuning our games - both singles and doubles,” head coach Libby McGovern said. “Our doubles teams have really come together in the last two weeks and are playing aggressive tennis. The team has been extremely focused and disciplined and have been working extremely hard. Hopefullly, all of their effort and hard work will pay off this weekend.”
The team boasts a veteran starting lineup consisting of three seniors and three juniors. Senior Anna Edelman, who ranks second in the ITA Northeast Region rankings, has posted a 32-8 record in singles play, which set a single-season program record for wins in singles competition. She is 14-5 in dual matches and has led the team at the top singles spot. The senior standout posted 18 wins in tournament play during the fall season, highlighted by the A Singles crown in the USTA National Tennis Center Invitational and a runner-up finish at the ITA East Regional Championships.
Classmate Lauren Bates also broke a school record in the final weekend of regular-season competition. She notched a pair of wins over Hartford and Stony Brook to move into sole possession of first-place on the program’s career singles wins chart. With 88 career victories in singles competition, Bates represents the school’s all-time leader in singles wins, passing Zeynep Altinay’s career mark of 86 wins.
Junior Jillian Santos, who ranks No. 20 in the ITA Northeast Region Rankings, will compete at third singles in this weekend’s championship. Santos registered a 24-10 mark in singles play this season, including a 13-6 record in dual matches.
Senior No. 4 Yulia Smirnova will play her final tournament as a Bearcat this weekend. The winningest doubles player in school history, Smirnova has amassed 82 wins in doubles competition, shattering the old mark set by Zeynep Altinay (70) from 2003-07. Smirnova owns a 20-10 mark in doubles play this season.
The junior class tandem of Marina Bykovskaya and Emma Leibowicz rounds out BU’s starting lineup. Bykovskaya holds a winning streak of six consecutive matches in singles play, coinciding with the team’s six-game streak. She has been dominant when it comes to doubles play, tallying a sparkling 25-8 record in doubles. Bykovskaya and Leibowicz share a 14-4 mark in dual matches at third doubles this season.