Women’s Tennis: A firm grip on its crown

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April 22, 2008

2:05 AM

**TRIBE 4, VCU 0 (CAA FINALS)**

With junior Klaudyna Kasztelaniec’s second set, 10th-game ace, the no. 26 Tribe clinched the CAA Championship for the 20th time in 23 years and walked away with its second win over no. 35 Virginia Commonwealth University this season in a 4-0 championship showing.

“A couple of points here and there and the match could have turned in a different direction,” Head Coach Kevin Epley said. “It was huge to get the doubles point. Down the stretch, we were really tough mentally, and that is how we grinded it out.
“[I’m] elated,” he said.

Behind the play of the 11th-ranked duo of senior Megan Moulton-Levy and junior Katarina Zoricic, the Tribe took the doubles point, dominating VCU 8-0 while sophomore Ragini Acharya and Kasztelaniec won 8-3.

“They weren’t prepared to play,” Moulton-Levy said of her opponents. “They gave up in the third game of the match. When they let up, we took it to them.”

In singles, sophomore Carmen Pop out-dueled her opponent in the quickest match of the afternoon, with a 6-2, 6-2 win. The match gave Pop her ninth win in her last 10 chances.

“I served well, and I finished points well with my forehand,” Pop said. “I hit a couple of nice drop shots, and I played with her a little. I am really confident and comfortable, and everything is clicking for me.”

No. 114 Acharya tallied a 6-0, 6-2 singles victory, her team-leading 31st victory of the season, while Kasztelaniec sealed the victory with a 6-2, 6-4 triumph.

“It feels great [to win the CAA],” Moulton-Levy said. “We are going to the NCAAs, so we have a lot of work to do and that is what we are looking forward to.”

**TRIBE 4, GEORGIA STATE 0 (CAA SEMIS)**

After the Tribe defeated James Madison University 4-0 Friday, the Saturday match saw much of the same as CAA player of the year Moulton-Levy powered the Tribe past Georgia State University 4-0 to advance to the finals.

“We were a little slow at number one doubles [Moulton-Levy and Zoricic],” Epley said. “Overall we played better at singles, and two and three doubles played well too.”

Epley felt the Tribe was positioned pretty well going into the finals against VCU.

Pop and sophomore Lauren Sabacinski quickly dismantled their opponents in an 8-2 doubles victory, while the no. 2 doubles team of Acharya and Kasztelaniec tallied an 8-3 triumph to secure the doubles point for the Tribe with the duo’s seventh-straight win.

“Klaudyna and I have been playing better together,” Acharya said. “We figured out how to be aggressive without giving up too much. We served well, and [Kasztelaniec] set me up a couple of times and I was able to close.”

No. 8 Moulton-Levy, Acharya and junior Barbara Zidek tallied singles victories for the College, while Pop and Zoricic carried commanding leads in their suspended matches.

“I made more balls than [GSU’s Dariana Kozmina] did,” Moulton-Levy said. “In the first few rounds, the key is to make balls. I did what I needed to do today.”

The College’s “all-business attitude” placed the Tribe into the finals against VCU for the seventh-straight year.

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