April 27, 2012
Crusaders advance to finals with 5-4 win
A 17-year reign of conference title appearances for Moravian is over as the Crusaders defeated the Greyhounds 5-4 in the Landmark Conference semifinals on Tuesday.
With the win, the Crusaders (10-5 overall, 5-2 Landmark) advanced to their first conference championship as a member of the Landmark.
After defeating Drew, 5-4, in their final regular season match, the team earned the number one seed throughout the conference tournament.
"[The number one seed] gives you a rest factor," said head coach Bob Jordan.
Jordan said he emphasized to his team that the three doubles matches were key to a victory, and the team responded with two wins in doubles play. At number one doubles, the team of junior Abby Hess and O'Riley defeated the Greyhounds' (5-8, 3-3) team of Chelsea Ott and Katie Zien in a tight 9-7 match.
The Greyhounds defeated senior Julia Lerner and sophomore Jessica Klinger in the second match, 8-2, to even the match at one point apiece.
Junior Ellen Pulsinelle and freshman Brielle Ferlauto joined forces for an 8-6 victory in the final doubles match. With wins in two of the three doubles matches, the Crusaders needed at least a split of the six singles match-ups to win the match.
In the first singles match, Ott, who Jordan described as a conference player of the year candidate, defeated Lerner, 6-1, 6-0. A three-set battle ensued in the number two singles match between a pair of breakout freshmen.
The Greyhounds' Carly Agrifolio faced off against O'Riley, taking the first set, 6-1. O'Riley quickly rebounded to win the second set, 6-4.
In the decisive third set, Agrifolio won 6-3 to take the back-and-forth match.
Moravian's Katie Zien defeated Crusaders sophomore Jessica Klinger 6-1, 6-0 in the third singles match.
The Crusaders won each of the last three singles matches in straight sets for the victory.
Hess captured a victory at number four singles, 6-3, 6-2, beating Greyhounds senior Brianna Kavanagh. Pulsinelle triumphed over Greyhounds sophomore Erica Venuti, 6-3, 6-4 at number five singles.
Ferlauto aced sophomore Olivia Sonnaband, 6-4, 6-1, to seal the victory.
"We came into [the match] knowing we could win, and kind of expected to," said Hess.
The match was Moravian's 18th staight appearance in postseason play, dating back to their membership in the Middle Atlantic Conference.
"To beat the defending champion was great...[the teams are] two old-time rivals," said Jordan.
"It would be big to send all of the student-athletes off with a championship," said Jordan. "It would be big for Susquehanna. It would be really nice to get a tennis banner in the Garrett [Sports Complex] from the Landmark."
The Crusaders will host the Scranton Royals in the championship match on Saturday at 1 p.m.
The Royals beat the Crusaders 6-3 in their first meeting.
"We had a tough match last time against Scranton and they were missing a couple players, so we know we need to step it up and play our best," explained O'Riley.
SPORTS HEADLINESTrack channels inner Greyhound at Moravian invite Softball reaches new high in sweep of Dutchmen Crusaders advance to finals with 5-4 win Women's lacrosse hangs on for 16-12 win over McDaniel Rugby tries, tries again vs. Huskies Crusaders edged in last conference matchup
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