The Crimson Hawks Tennis Team are all about that Ace.
The Women’s Tennis team of IUP met Slippery Rock on Maple Street Courts Wednesday afternoon April 20.
IUP’s Women handed Slippery Rock a loss with a final of 6-1, this puts Hawks tennis on an eight-game winning streak with a 13-7 record overall.
The Tennis program secured its second straight Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) Western Division regular season title, it was IUP's third PSAC West crown since 2018.
“Going into today's match we knew we had to win, and we were ready for it. We got a great lead in the first set which gave us the first set on almost every court and that sent out a message itself. We let tennis speak for us and as right now we haven't lost a match since we got back from spring break, and we are not planning on it either,” Idoia Huerta said during an interview.
IUP has won 15 of the last 16 matches against Slippery Rock dating back to the spring of 2011.
“Since Slippery Rock is our biggest rival in the conference, the entire team was pumped up and super ready to beat them! We came out strong from the very first point of the match, and personally I never doubted our team effort and performance. Generally, our team energy is very high, and we are loud across all six courts, but today the focus and importance of the match could be felt and all of us were set on getting the job done,” Joanna Stralka said.
40th-ranked Karolin Kirchtag (senior, sports administration) tallied the match-clinching victory at the top singles spot, dispatching Lois Page 6-4, 6-3.
Kirchtag's victory was her eighth straight singles win and gave IUP a 4-0 lead in the match.
Preceding her wins in singles play were Lydia Vlachou (sophomore, public health) at No. 5 and Laura Dunarova (senior, accounting) at No. 6, both by 6-2, 6-1 scores.
Wrapping up the victory was Katy Graydon (sophomore, undecided) at No. 4 with a 6-0, 7-5 win at Joanna Stralka (junior, biology pre-med) at No. 2 with a comeback 3-6, 6-1, 6-1 win.
The Hawks took the doubles points by grabbing two of three wins.
Natasha Munday (graduate student, sports management) and Stralka blanked Slippery Rock's top pairing by a score of 6-0 while Kirchtag and Graydon won at the No. 2 spot by a score of 6-2.
Coach Peterson had this to say about his team’s outstanding performance, “We are very familiar with Slippery Rock’s roster, so it’s not hard to get pumped up to play them. The team has put in a ton of work since September, and we’ve been working hard in terms of team goals. We were ready to go, and it all came down to who executed fundamentals better. I was very proud of the team.”
The Hawks will play West Virginia State (11-5, 5-1 MEC) in Morgantown, W.Va. on Friday April 22.
It is a battle between the top two teams in the NCAA Atlantic Region rankings with IUP at No. 1 and WV State at No. 2.