Top Seeds Advance to Semifinals Round of 2017 CIAA Women's Championship

Bowie, MD (April 20, 2017) – There was plenty of exciting action, but few surprises on the opening day of the 2017 Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) Women’s Tennis Championship Tournament, Thursday at the Bowie State University Tennis Courts. All eight teams played well and battled on the court, but in the end the #1 Chowan Hawks, #2 Shaw Lady Bears, #3 Virginia State Lady Trojans, and #4 Winston-Salem State Rams all advanced to the semifinal round of the tournament with opening day victories. 

The second-seeded Shaw University Lady Bears (19-2) got the day started in style when the team took a dominating 5-0 win over the seventh-seeded Elizabeth City State University Lady Vikings (3-11). The Lady Bears opened the match with some momentum with three straight 8-0 wins in doubles play to go ahead 3-0. Sophomore Simbiat Aleem and fellow sophomore Adjriana Martic got things started with a win at #3 doubles, followed by sophomore Teodora Jovavonic and freshman Helena Fekete combining for a #2 doubles win before junior Marilyn Kamegne and Daniela Vanko closed things out at #1 doubles. With the 3-0 lead, the Lady Bears needed just two singles wins to finish the win. Aleem got things started with a 6-0, 6-0 win at #5 singles before Martic closed it out with a 6-0, 6-0 win at #4 singles.

The second match of the day was equally exciting with the third-seeded Virginia State University Lady Trojans (14-4) taking a 5-1 win over the sixth-seeded rival Virginia Union University Lady Panthers (8-11). The Lady Trojans got the match started with an equally dominant doubles performance with 8-0 wins in all three sets. Freshman Christina Washington and junior Tamisha Richardson combined for a win at #2 doubles before junior Charde Washington and freshman Felicia Tucker followed suit with an 8-0 #3 doubles win before sophomore Sydney Yao and senior Sheila James closed things out with a #1 doubles. With the win, the Lady Trojans needed just two singles wins, but the team would have to do it without #1 singles player James, who retired with an injury and gave VUU a #1 singles win. The effort was not quite enough as Tucker claimed a 6-1, 6-0 win at #5 singles before Tucker closed out the match with a 6-1, 6-0 win at #4 singles.

The closest match of the day came when the #4 Winston-Salem State University Rams (11-9) took a 5-1 win over the #5 Johnson C. Smith University Golden Bulls (6-14). Johnson C. Smith struck first when Michaela Colvin and Alisa Stevenson took a convincing 8-2 win at #3 doubles, but that was the only point the team could manage as WSSU junior Alexus Morgan and sophomore China Brown combined for an 8-4 win at #2 doubles and senior Gabrielle Lindsay and junior Aja Grant capped doubles play with an 8-5 win at #1 doubles. After taking a 2-1 lead after doubles play, the Rams needed three singles wins to complete the win. Unfortunately, it was a Johnson C. Smith injury that started singles play and gave Winston-Salem State a retirement win at #1 singles and pushed the Rams’ lead to 3-1. Grant added a 6-2, 6-1 win at #3 singles while Brown closed the match with a 6-1, 6-0 win at #4 singles that sealed the 5-1 WSSU win and sent the team to the semifinal round of the tournament.

The final match of the day saw the top-seeded Chowan University Hawks (18-8) take a decisive win over a short-handed #8 Fayetteville State University Lady Broncos (3-10). The Lady Broncos had a bit of bad luck with a player missing the match due to illness and were forced to default at #3 doubles, falling behind 0-1. The boost was all the Hawks needed as the duo of Angelique Gouin and Cynthia Carrier added an 8-0 win at #2 doubles while Paulina Novachuk and Victoria Smolchenkova closed doubles play with an 8-0 win at #1 doubles to take a 3-0 lead heading into singles play. Bad fortune continued to plague the Lady Broncos with a default loss at #6 singles to leave the team trailing the Hawks 4-0. Chowan would go on to complete the match win when Gouin took a 6-0, 6-0 win at #4 singles.

Friday’s semifinal round will have an adjusted schedule as the four teams look to avoid inclement weather. The #1 Chowan Hawks will open the day facing the #4 Winston-Salem State Rams in an 8:30 a.m. match, followed by the #2 Shaw Lady Bears taking on the #3 Virginia State Lady Trojans.

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