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Sunday, Apr 07, 2019 at 8:05 pm

Syracuse Falls Short to Miami 5-2 on Senior Day

By Brad Klein

CitrusTV Tennis Reporter

All good things must come to an end. For Seniors Libi Mesh, Maria Tritou, Dina Hegab and Gabriela Knutson, Senior Day marked the end of their Syracuse tennis careers at Drumlins Country Club. The four have a combined 442 career wins, but Sunday was about more than just a 5-2 loss to No. 27 Miami (14-6, 7-5 ACC). Head Coach Younes Limam says it was a celebration of growth and success.

“It’s safe to say the reason why SU tennis is where it is today is because of them,” Limam said. “The biggest thing is to see how much growth they’ve had over the past four years, and how much perseverance they’ve done. They deserve everything they’ve earned.”

Although the Orange lost by three, the match was closer than the score shows. Three of the singles losses were narrow defeats, including Gabriela Knutson’s match against reigning ACC player of the year No. 2 Estela Perez-Somarriba. Knutson lost two straight sets in two straight tiebreaks 6-7 (2-7), 6-7 (7-9). But the Syracuse senior made a comeback in the second. Knutson was down 6-1 in the final tiebreak, and stormed back to tie it up at seven before losing two straight points and the match.

“I know I did everything I could on that court. I left my heart and soul out there. I’m not sad because I lost because I know there’s nothing more I could have done,” Knutson said. “That’s why I’m kind of down because it’s over and my time has come to an end, but I’m not sad about the match.”

Knutson is second on SU’s all time wins list with 173.

Fellow senior Maria Tritou got the nod today to play the fourth singles court, and also came close to victory. She lost the first set in a crushing 5-7 defeat after Miami’s Daniella Roldan broke her serve, but Tritou came back to win the second frame 6-4 after returning the favor by breaking Roldan’s serve in the first game. Tritou went on to lose the last set 7-5.

“It was really hard and I kept just trying to get there, like my forehand I wasn’t really feeling it, and my returns,” Tritou said. “I felt like I was playing against myself.”

Libi Mesh had less luck in her final match at Drumlins Country Club. She lost in straight sets 6-2, 6-4. Her parents came in from Haifa, Israel to celebrate her career with her, and her father, Alexander, says there are no regrets looking back on the past four years.”

“They were four tough years. We missed Libi a lot, Mesh said. “We really believe that the experience she gained here is fantastic. It will help her in her career, in her life, in everything.”

Dina Hegab is the only senior who won in singles on Sunday. She captured her career high 20th win with a 6-1, 6-4 victory.

The Orange still have more tennis to play though. They have two more matches before the ACC tournament kicks off, starting with Duke on Friday.

bwklein@syr.edu | @BradKlein15