The Syracuse Tennis Team Bows Out With Heads Held High
By Cameron Ezeir
CitrusTV Tennis Beat Reporter
Following the NCAA and ACC’s decision to cancel all athletic competitions in the spring, the Syracuse tennis team’s season comes to a screeching halt. Younes Limam and company finish the season 8-3 and ranked No. 33 in the country, a feat that has become customary since Limam’s tenure. But this season is unlike any other. No ACC tournament, no NCAA tournament, and no more SU tennis matches for the foreseeable future due to coronavirus concerns.
The entire sports world has already felt the brunt of these decisions, and all we can do, as fans, reporters, players, and coaches, is reflect on the meaning of sports and the accomplishments that draw us into watching competition every day.
For this Orange team, the first storyline is team chemistry.
After four seniors graduated, SU gelled without a problem, welcoming in three new faces from overseas. Kim Hansen, Polina Kozyreva, and Zeynep Erman propelled the Cuse to a 6-0 start to the season, which is second-best in program history.
Along with chemistry comes results.
Sophomore Sonya Treshcheva and Hansen dominated in the fall and finished as the 48th ranked doubles team in the nation. Junior Sofya Golubovskaya packed up the Orange’s excellent fall season with a singles ranking of 111th, while seniors Miranda Ramirez and Guzal Yusupova were ranked individually, 80th and 64th respectively. This success carried over to the fall as both Hansen and Ramirez started the season with a perfect 7-0 record in singles play. Erman racked up six straight singles victories, and Kozyreva closed out one of the best wins in program history after a three-set thriller to upset No. 15 Notre Dame.
With results comes rankings.
After starting the season unranked, the ITA rewarded SU’s blistering start with the number 25 before their name. This was just the 8th time in Limam’s six years in the program that Syracuse had eclipsed the top 25. Following a sudden drop, the Orange rebounded to grab the 23rd spot just weeks later with a record of 8-2.
With rankings comes trials and tribulations.
Although the Cuse found themselves in the ITA polls conversation, the season was without a doubt a roller coaster. Early on, Golubovskaya injured her shoulder, which she reaggravated close to a month later. Kozyreva sprained her ankle and was forced out of a couple of duels. Erman fought through lower back pain throughout the latter part of the season but preserved in a very promising freshman season. Finally, the team had only seven players and pushed through forfeits and tough breaks to win games and fight back in others.
With trials and tribulations comes a few goodbyes.
In response to the cancelation of all ACC spring sports, the SU tennis program says farewell to the sole two seniors on this year’s team.
Miranda Ramirez joined an SU team that had not only one of the best singles players in the nation in Gabriella Knutson, but also a top 25 program for the first time in Orange tennis history. But Ramirez was far from phased. The San Antonio native finished her senior year strong with a 9-2 record in spring singles. Also, a 4-3 spring doubles record with four undecided matches. In her career, the senior tallied three All-ACC honors, including All-ACC second and third team recognitions in her freshman and junior year. As well as Doubles All-America honors in her sophomore year. Overall, Ramirez finished 131-81 in her decorated 4-year Orange career.
Guzal Yusupova transferred to Syracuse in 2018 after a two-year stint at Washington State. Her impact was immediately felt after picking up five singles wins against ACC opponents in her first spring in Orange. This year, the Uzbekistan native ranked as high as 64th in the nation in singles and finished in the 82nd spot. The seniors highest rate of success transpired in the fall, as she concluded both 2018 and 2019 with a strong 19-5 record in singles and 18-9 record in doubles.
For these seniors, the 2020 SU tennis team, and the entire program, this is both a shock and an unexpected turn. But the performance that the Syracuse Orange put forward every week was second to none. All seven student-athletes put everything on the line, and we as fans and the media can never forget about their fight in the 2020 season.
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