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Sunday, Apr 15, 2018 at 4:11 pm

SU Tennis Victorious In Last Home Match

By Gill Gross

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Anna Shkudun’s SU career has had its ups and downs, but on Sunday at Drumlins Country Club the senior ended her career on a high note. Her final point at Drumlins, an unreturned second serve, clinched a 4-0 win for Syracuse (15-6, 7-6 Atlantic Coast) over Notre Dame (10-2, 2-10).

Shkudun made it look like any other match. She promptly put her first up and yelled “c’mon.” After she shook hands with her opponent and the umpire, Shkudun bent over her tennis bag to put her rackets away and unstrap her knee brace. Then she joined her teammates to share congratulations on the victory. Usually, high fives are the standard. Anna Shkudun got a hug from everyone.

“Tough day for me,” Shkudun said, “Honestly I tried not to think about that it’s my last match at home. But still these thoughts they sometimes come back during the match. But I was trying to ignore and just play the ball and just play every point.”

Syracuse honored Shkudun and Nicole Mitchell before the match to honor their careers with the Orange. Syracuse head coach Younes Limam did make a lineup change, but not the one that many expected. Masha Tritou was pulled from the lineup at fifth singles. Instead of being replaced by the senior, Mitchell, Libi Mesh stepped in at fifth singles. Mitchell is the only player on the roster who was recruited by Limam’s predecessor.

Sofya Golubovskya and Shkudun cruised to a 6-0 victory at third doubles. While No. 13 Gabriela Knutson/ Miranda Ramirez did enough to win 6-4, despite not playing their best tennis.

With the doubles point in hand, Mesh impressed with a 6-0, 6-2 victory over Rachel Chong at fifth singles.

No. 4 Knutson was coming off her first loss of the season at Drumlins. She bullied Allison Miller around the court en route to a 6-3, 6-2.

Knutson’s finish set up Shkudun for the clincher.

Ramirez, Golubovskya, and Dina Hegab’s matches all went unfinished due to dual withdrawals. Golubovskya and Hegab were both behind on the scoreboard. Ramirez was on serve in a decisive third set. Syracuse’s victory snaps a season-high three match losing streak.

“Extremely proud of the team and the leadership from [Shkudun] and Nicole,” Limam said, “And just how we came on strong in the doubles and kind of set the tone.”