Strong Singles Effort Helps Penguins Win Fourth Straight Horizon League Title

YSU won its fourth straight Horizon League Championship beating Wright State 4-2.
YSU won its fourth straight Horizon League Championship beating Wright State 4-2.

Ann Arbor, Mich. - The Youngstown State women's tennis team used a strong effort in singles play to beat Wright State 4-2 in the Horizon League Championship match on Sunday afternoon at the Michigan Varsity Tennis Center.

It marks the fourth straight Horizon League Championship for the Penguins who will now advance to the NCAA Regionals for the fourth time in as many years. The Guins (16-8) defeated the Raiders (14-12) for the second straight season in the conference tournament final.

After losing the doubles point, Cassandra Moraleja, Dominika Lackova, Noelly Longi Nsimba and Imaan Hassim all won singles matches in straight sets for the Penguins.

The Penguins dropped the doubles point in a marathon session to open the match. 

It took 55 minutes before the Raiders were able to claim the point. WSU picked up a quick 6-0 win at No. 2 doubles before back-and-forth matches were waged at No. 1 and No. 3.

At No. 3, Sahni and Lackova batted through two match points and rallied from 5-3 down to stay alive and tie the match 6-6. Eventually they were able to rally and led 5-2 in the tiebreak.

However at No. 1, Ana Stroe and Nsmiba led 5-2 before Wright State scored the last five points of the tiebreaker to 7-6 (7-5).

In singes play the Penguins came out strong winning the first set in five of the six matches. 

The first to clinch was Moraleja at No. 6 as she defeated Tori Turner 6-2, 6-1. Nehel Sahni was the first to win her set at 6-2, but eventually lost the second to Haily Morgan. 

On the other side of the Tennis Center, Lackova won her first 7-5 winning the final two points after things were even at 5-5. In the second set, she jumped out to a 5-2 lead before Karoline Heller won the next two points. However, Lackova won the last point for a 6-4 set victory.

Soon after Lackova won, Nsimba gave the Guins a 3-1 lead. Nsimba came on strong after a slow start to beat Linsey Versterpen 6-4, 6-3. 

Back on the other side of the Tennis Center, Hassim had a battle to win the first set against Vanessa Madrigal. Hassim trailed most of the first set before forcing a tiebreaker. In the tiebreak she won 7-5. Grabbing moment from that victory she jumped out to a 5-1 lead in the second set. 

While Madrigal won the next point to get within 5-2, the Raiders crept within 3-2 in the team race as Elaine Cloern beat Sofia Macias 6-3, 6-4. Macias hung tough fighting off three match points before falling to Cloern.

Moments later Hassim finished off Madrigal 6-2 in the second to win the Championship. Sahni was ahead 5-1 in the third set in the other remaining match.