JMU Wins First CAA Women's Tennis Championship, Downs Tribe 4-2 in Title Match
James Madison captured its first Colonial Athletic Association women's tennis title with a 4-2 win over William & Mary in the championship match on Saturday morning. The Dukes trailed 2-0 early in the match before rallying with four straight singles wins to defeat the Tribe.
W&M's Lauren Goodman and Charlotte Madson took a 6-2 win on court three over JMU's Amanda Nord and Michelle Los Arcos Balasch to give the Tribe the doubles advantage. JMU's Emma Petersen and Daria Afanasyeva held a 4-3 lead on court two, but William & Mary clinched the doubles point with a 6-1 win on court one by Clara Tanielian and Victoria Okauyma.
William & Mary took a 2-0 lead with a 6-1, 6-3 victory by Mila Saric over Petersen on court four. The Dukes got back in the match with a win on court two, as Abby Amos picked up her 22nd win of the season with a 6-4, 6-2 victory against Natalia Perry. Amos' 22 wins this season currently ranks tied for the 12th most singles wins in JMU single-season history.
JMU evened the match at 2-2 with a straight-set win on court three. Daniela Voloh cruised to an early 6-0 victory in the first set, and didn't let up int he second, downing Clara Tanielian 6-4 in the second to tie the match. The Dukes seized the lead with a come-from-behind win on court six. After dropping the first set 6-4, Nord forced a third set with a 6-0 win. In the third, Nord edged out Madson 7-5 to give JMU its first lead of the championship match. The win for Nord was her 12th straight win and her 20th singles victory of the year.
On court five, Jona Roka fell in the first set 6-4 to Goodman, but the junior forced a third set with a 6-4 victory in the second. It was all Roka in the third, as she blanked Goodman 6-0 to clinch the first CAA championship for the program.
In JMU's 46-year women's tennis history, this is JMU's first conference championship
Head Coach Shelley Jaudon wins her first title in her first year at the helm
Senior Abby Amos currently has 50 doubles wins, which is sixth most in JMU history
Senior Emma Petersen currently has 67 doubles wins, which is second most in program history
Petersen holds the school record for singles wins, with 86 victories
Petersen also holds the school record with 153 total wins
WHAT THEY'RE SAYING
Head Coach Shelley Jaudon: "What an incredible day for JMU Women's Tennis. This has been a long day coming and a lot of people have played a part in making this possible for our team now. I'm so proud of the way our girls fought today and prouder of the way they represented our program this entire championship. They set their minds to this moment last summer and worked together all year to earn this special day."
Jona Roka: "Today, I definitely want to congratulate my team including Lauren and the other staff and especially the men's tennis team. I don't think this would have even been possible if Amanda hadn't sent it to 3-2 for us. To see her out there to fight today made me more motivated to clinch it for my squad."
JMU is the automatic qualifier from the CAA and will learn its fate in the NCAA Women's Tennis Championship when the team bracket is unveiled during the selection show on Monday, Apr. 29 at 6:30 p.m. on ncaa.com.