SALISBURY, Md. - Two of the top women's tennis teams in the Atlantic South region met on Sunday at the Salisbury University Outdoor Tennis Courts as the host Sea Gulls lost a tough 6-3 match to Muhlenberg College.
Salisbury (10-3), ranked ninth in the region, defeated Muhlenberg by the same score last season. The Mules (4-3), ranked 10th in the region, handed the Sea Gulls their first loss at home this season.
Muhlenberg got things started in doubles play as the Mules jumped out to a 2-1 lead. At No. 2 doubles, the SU team of juniors Rachel Iosue and Kelly Fahrner finished first as they dominated Jenn Powell and Carly Rotfeld of Muhlenberg. The duo was down 0-1 early on but won seven game points in a row to help secure the 8-2 victory. Senior Robyn Wendell and junior Kristen King lost at third doubles to Danielle Winston and Lindsay Schmidt. Down 2-3, Wendell-King rallied to tie the match at four and later at eight all. Muhlenberg then secured the win with a tie breaker 9-8 (7-3). In first doubles, senior Anna Marie Kable and junior Jackie Burr could not get on track early on. Burr's punishing ground strokes were not enough to lead the Sea Gulls to a comeback as they lost 8-5. This was the first loss for Kable and Burr at No. 1 doubles this season as the pair is now 10-1.
In singles action the Sea Gulls won two of six matches. First to finish was Wendell at fifth singles against Danielle Winston. In the first set, Wendell recorded the first game point but could not keep the momentum. Wendell (3-4 at No. 5 singles) dropped the match 1-6, 2-6. The second match to conclude was Iosue's victory at No. 2 singles. Iosue took the first set 6-1 using her solid ground strokes. In the second set Iosue dropped the first two points but rallied to take the lead and eventually the match, 6-1, 6-4. Iosue is 9-0 at second doubles on the season. Fahrner lost at third singles to Rotfeld. Fahrner (5-4 on the year) dropped the match 2-6, 1-6. Sara Sutker of Muhlenberg needed three sets to beat Kable at No. 4 singles. After splitting sets 6-4, 3-6 Sutker went to work in the third set as she eventually defeated Kable 4-6, 6-3, 6-1. At No. 6 singles King turned in a solid performance against Schmidt. King dropped the first set 2-6 but got into a rhythm in the second as she won 6-1. King kept her momentum throughout the third set as she recorded SU's third point with the 6-2 set win. Burr went three sets against Powell at first singles. She won the first set 6-4 with a commanding overhead on the final point. In the second set the two sides exchanged points back-and-forth as Burr found herself down 5-4. With Powell serving Burr was unable to secure the set. With the sets split, Burr dropped three straight games to start off. She later rallied to 3-1 before Powell took control and the recorded the 4-6, 6-4, 6-1 win.
Salisbury will now turn its attention to this Saturday's huge home match against Capital Athletic Conference champion University of Mary Washington. The Sea Gulls and Eagles are slated to begin their match at 11 a.m. at the SU Outdoor Tennis Courts.