Syracuse defeats Louisville, 4-2, with strong performance on 1st serves

first_imgAmanda Rodgers pumped her left fist and let out a scream.Serving at 4-4, 40-30 in the second set, Syracuse’s No. 1 singles player had just watched as a shot from Louisville’s Jessie Lynn Paul sailed wide, giving Rodgers a 5-4 lead. Rodgers then beat Paul in the ensuing game to take the set and the match, 6-2, 6-4.“I was just really happy today that my first serves were going in,” said Rodgers, a contributing writer for The Daily Orange. “I was trying to focus on using my legs more, so maybe that made a difference.”For most of the match, Paul had no answer for Rodgers’ serve. In two sets, the SU senior dropped only one game on serve for the Orange (7-8, 2-7 Atlantic Coast), which earned a 4-2 win over the Cardinals (10-10, 2-5) at Drumlins Tennis Center on Friday afternoon.First serves proved to be a strength throughout the day not only for Rodgers, but also for sophomore Rhiann Newborn, who, like Rodgers, rarely had to resort to her second serve. And like Rodgers, Newborn dropped only one game on serve in her match against Louisville’s Ariana Rodriguez.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textIn an attempt to explain her success, SU’s third singles player pointed to what she was doing before she served the ball.“I thought I was throwing my toss up at the right spot,” Newborn said. “And then I was hitting through. I wasn’t giving up. I was moving the ball around really well on my serve.”Rodgers and Newborn’s strong serves kept Paul and Rodriguez at the baseline, allowing them to consistently attack the net and control the points.“They’ve been serving quite well for the last few weeks, few months,” Syracuse head coach Younes Limam said of Rodgers and Newborn. “That’s something they rely on a lot, and we just try to remind them to use their strengths and use their serves wisely, and they did a great job on that.”Komal Safdar was the only other Syracuse player to win a singles match. She cruised past Chloe Willetts in straight sets at the fifth spot.The Orange also earned the doubles point. The duo of Newborn and Rodgers topped Ellie Gerlach and Manuela Velasquez, 8-4, while Valeria Salazar and Safdar beat Rodriguez and Elle Stokes, 8-6.But after Syracuse secured the doubles point, it quickly fell behind 2-1 when senior Breanna Bachini and freshman Nicole Mitchell dropped their singles matches in straight sets at the second and fourth spots, respectively.That shifted the burden onto the shoulders of SU’s other singles players, namely Newborn and Rodgers. Fortunately for the Orange, they answered the bell.If that pressure was at all felt by Newborn or Rodgers, neither one of them allowed it to affect her play. Time and time again, they won the points they needed to win. And more often than not, they won those points with their serves.“(Amanda) played extremely well, and same thing with Rhiann,” Limam said. “I’m very pleased with how they handled the pressure, because all of a sudden we were down… They came back and they managed that very well. I’m really happy for them.” Comments Published on March 27, 2015 at 7:06 pm Contact Michael: [email protected] Facebook Twitter Google+last_img

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