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Upset-Minded No. 3 Firebirds Edged by No. 2 NYIT in ECC Semifinals

Simoné Pärn avenged a tough, 6-2, 3-6, 10-8 regular season loss to Barbie Quagliardi with a clutch, 7-5, 5-7, 6-4 win.
Simoné Pärn avenged a tough, 6-2, 3-6, 10-8 regular season loss to Barbie Quagliardi with a clutch, 7-5, 5-7, 6-4 win.

FLUSHING, NY – The No. 3 seeded University of the District of Columbia women's tennis team fell just short of upsetting No. 2 New York Institute of Technology as the Firebirds were defeated, 4-3 in the East Coast Conference semifinals Saturday afternoon at Queens College.

UDC's fall season comes to a close as the Firebirds finish with an overall mark of 9-3. NYIT (13-2) advances to its 8th consecutive ECC Finals appearance to try to earn its 7th straight ECC championship crown.

Three Firebirds, each who had lost to their respective opponent in the regular season meeting (won by NYIT, 6-1) eight days ago, battled their way to victories and three points on the board for UDC in this hotly contested semifinal. Those three victories helped to set the stage for one remaining singles match to decide the victor – the No. 3 match between UDC freshman Joanna Skrzypczynksa and ECC preseason player of the year, sophomore Ivana Andric.

Skrzypczynksa, who defeated Andric , 6-4, 6-2 in their last meeting, got off to a slow start, losing the first set, 6-0. She battled back to win the 2nd set, 7-5, but, with all eyes in the arena upon them in the 3rd set, the reigning ECC Rookie of the Year bested the current freshman, 6-4 to claim the victory for herself and the Bears.

Prior to that decisive final singles match, sophomore No. 1 singles player Simoné Pärn avenged a tough, 6-2, 3-6, 10-8 regular season loss to Barbie Quagliardi with an astounding, and clutch, 7-5, 5-7, 6-4 win. UDC had been trailing 3-2 to that point, and with that win, evened the match at 3-3 to stay alive.

In other singles action, junior Estefania Castrillon bounced back from her 6-3, 6-2 regular season loss to Monica Borobia, defeating the freshman from Spain today, 6-3, 6-3. Also, after a 6-3, 6-2 loss to Cosmina Hoch on October 19th, sophomore Anastasiia Danylova today beat Antonella Lopez Alcerro, 7-6 (7-5), 6-1.

The Firebirds surrendered the doubles point with losses at No. 2 and 3, and they lost singles matches at No. 2, 3 and 4.