For the second year in a row, the New Paltz Hawks women’s tennis team won the SUNY Athletic Conference (SUNYAC) title after handedly defeating Cortland and Oneonta this weekend.
The Hawks had an 8-1 season record to give them the top seed in the SUNYAC playoffs, which was clinched following an 8-1 victory against conference rival Geneseo.
Their road to the championship began on Saturday afternoon with a conference finals matchup against the Cortland Red Dragons in Binghamton. The Hawks were quite familiar with the game’s pressure, as it was their 18th consecutive appearance in the conference playoff game.
In typical fashion, the Hawks commanded early in doubles. Second-years Trinity Chow and Laura Koob continued their trademark 1-2 punch, taking the 8-2 match victory. Third-year Jenna Grandville and fourth-year Victoria Zezula earned the dominant 8-1 victory before first-year Onalee Batcheller and second-year Alexandra Dratch wrapped up doubles with an 8-3 match win.
New Paltz took to the court for singles, where Batcheller breezed past first-year Isabella Bonapace with 6-1 and 6-0 set wins. Chow closed out singles with yet another 6-1 and 6-0 set win, this time over third-year Chloe Knapp.
If anyone is wondering how the other four singles matchups turned out, it doesn’t matter. The tennis playoffs follow an altered rule which shortens the length of each meet. At the point where the opposing team has no way of winning, the game ends. In the regular season, the game ends after nine matches are played, regardless of the number of matches won by either team. Since Chow won her singles match and gave the Hawks a 5-0 lead where a Red Dragons’ victory was impossible, the game was decided.
The shutout win over Cortland put New Paltz back in the SUNYAC Finals for the second consecutive season.
The championship decider was held the following day at 1 p.m. as the determined 9-1 Hawks faced the hungry 12-4 Oneonta Red Dragons, who had not won a women’s tennis SUNYAC Championship in their history.
Chow and Koob started the game off well as they did all season, winning the set 8-2. Oneonta was aware of how dominant New Paltz was in doubles and brought second-years Olivia Fraser and Rebecca Macdonald to the table to face the strong Grandville and Zezula pairing in the second doubles set. The Red Dragons took it 8-4, setting up a sudden-death ending to doubles. The next match would be one of the closest of the entire season for the Hawks as Dratch and Batcheller squared off against second-years Madeline Carswell and Giovanna Buccina. The set needed a tiebreaker round, but luckily for the Hawks they got the job done, winning both matches 8-7 and 8-2 to give their team a 2-1 lead into singles.
Koob defeated Carswell 6-1 and 6-0 to kick off the game’s latter portion, and Batcheller followed up with a win over first-year Emily Greene 6-1 and 6-2. The Hawks had a 4-1 lead and only needed one more singles win to secure the championship. Oneonta’s Macdonald halted New Paltz’s roll with a 6-2 and 6-3 defeat of second-year Alex Chimenti. The fate of the game and chances of New Paltz repeating as champions rested on Chow’s shoulders. Her matchup against third-year Mya Lipscomb took it to the limits, with a tiebreaker being necessary for the first match as Chow pulled away with an 8-7, 7-1 advantage. With her 6-2 win in the next match, it was all over. The Hawks deservingly won the 2019 women’s tennis SUNYAC Championship.
The team ended their complete dominance on top as they brought the New Paltz Hawks their first taste of sweet postseason victory for the year.