April 24, 2014
FLUSHING MEADOWS, N.Y. - Down 1-0 heading into singles action, the No. 9 Villanova women's tennis team remained calm and collective to stay grounded and tune in its best performance of the season, taking down higher seeded No. 8 Providence 5-1 in the first round of the BIG EAST Championship on the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center courts in Flushing Meadows, N.Y.
Trailing after the first stanza, Linley Busby (Charlotte, N.C.) proved why head coach Steve Reiniger believes she is capable of competing against some of the region's top-players. The freshman kept her cool and rallied back to defeat Hannah Zangari 6-4, 6-2 in sets two and three, capturing Villanova's first BIG EAST triumph since 2000.
The Wildcats (6-16, 1-4 BIG EAST) ensured themselves another match with the victory over the Friars (5-16, 1-6 BIG EAST), bumping their win total to six on the season. Villanova will advance to the conference quarterfinals where top-seeded DePaul awaits. The Blue Demons entered the tournament as the No. 46 team in the nation after finishing 19-3 during the regular season. The match is slated for a 9 a.m. start time on Friday morning.
Team captain Mikelle Mancini (Salt Lake City, Utah) served her duty as the top-player for the Wildcats. In her final conference tournament, the senior needed only two sets to take down Maria Bernardez, 7-5, 6-0 and even the match.
Shortly after, Kate Pettee (New Canaan, Conn.) propelled Villanova to a lead they never relinquished. The junior eased her way to a 6-1, 6-4 victory over Karen Ramirez at the No. 4 flight.
Samantha Schafer (River Forest, Ill.) took care of business from the No. 3 slot to give the Wildcats a 3-1 advantage with only three contests remaining. The freshman performed like a veteran during her first post-season, showing composure during a first set tiebreaker, ultimately capturing a 7-6 (4) first set before dominating set two, 6-2.
At the same time Busby clinched the win, Tori Smyth (Stamford, Conn.) stormed back from an early deficit to beat Alana Prinos at the No. 2 position. The sophomore clinched the Wildcats fifth point with a 0-6, 6-3, 6-3 victory.
Below is a look at the complete results of Thursday's first round match:
#9 Villanova 5, #8 Providence 1 - April 24 - USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center - Flushing Meadows, N.Y.
Doubles (Providence clinches doubles point ):
1. Maria Bernardez/Karen Ramirez (PC) def. Mikelle Mancini/Tori Smyth (VU), 8-6
2. Linley Busby/Kate Pettee (VU) leading Alana Prinos/Hannah Zangari (PC), 7-6
3. Jennifer DeLuca/Amanda Pitocco (PC) def. Samantha Schafer/Connor Brewer (VU), 8-5
Order of finish: 3, 1, 2 DNF
1. Mikelle Mancini (VU) def. Maria Bernardez (PC) 7-5, 6-0
2. Tori Smyth (VU) def. Alana Prinos (PC) 0-6, 6-3, 6-3
3. Samantha Schafer (VU) def. Jennifer DeLuca (PC) 7-6 (4), 6-2
4. Kate Pettee (VU) def. Karen Ramirez (PC) 6-1, 6-4
5. Linley Busby (VU) def. Hannah Zangari (PC) 3-6, 6-4, 6-2
6. Olivia Hogan (PC) led Connor Brewer (VU) 7-6 (3), 2-6, 1-0
Order of finish: 1, 4, 3, 5, 2, 6 DNF