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Saturday, Feb 02, 2019 at 10:16 am

Syracuse Takes their First Loss of the Season to Open ACC Play

By Brad Klein

CitrusTV Tennis Beat Reporter

All good things must come to an end. A hot start that earned Syracuse (4-1, 0-1 Atlantic Coast) a 14-rank jump in the Oracle/ITA poll came to a sudden halt with a 4-3 loss to Virginia (5-1, 1-0) in their first ACC duel of the season.

“Credit to Virginia. They played a little better on the bigger points,” Head Coach Younes Limam said. “We had a good start in the doubles and we started well in some of the singles, but we had our back against the wall pretty much the whole match.”

Syracuse lost the doubles point for the second time this season. The All-American doubles duo of Gabriela Knutson and Miranda Ramirez losing their second consecutive match.

“The doubles point is really important. It’s not only a full point but it’s also the first one. So it’s right out of the gate, how is the match going to go? Who has the momentum? So it’s a really important thing to get off the bat,” Ramirez said. “I think that as long as we keep doing what we’re doing we will eventually get those points. I know we lost the last one and the one today, but I don’t think that’s any means for us to worry. I’m still confident in our doubles.”

Unlike their win against Purdue, Syracuse was not able to immediately flip the switch after losing the doubles point. After the break, the Orange fell behind in nearly all of their singles matches and found themselves playing catch-up all day.

No. 43 Gabriela Knutson lost her first set in her singles match with No. 32 Meghan Kelley 5-7, after leading in the set 5-2. She says that she had a tougher time fighting a mental battle than she did competing with Kelley on the other side of the net.

“As my mom would say, I already saw myself in the locker room. So I stopped being so intense and I lost my confidence. It’s really tough. You know it’s happening too, and you don’t know what to do about it,” Knutson said. “While it’s happening you can still do something and then after it’s like 5-5… It was a battle with myself.

Despite the loss, Syracuse hasn’t lost its confidence going forward.

“I think that we can just let this one go. We are still collectively playing very well,” Ramirez said. “We are coming off a big win. I think we can just take confidence from that and trust in our own ability and sort of brush this off, go into the next one, and do our best.”

Syracuse will travel to Chestnut Hill to take on Boston College on Sunday, February 3.

bwklein@syr.edu | @BradKlein15