March 11, 2013
PITTSBURGH, Pa. – For the first time in program history, the University of Pittsburgh tennis team (5-6, 2-2) defeated Rutgers University (6-4, 3-1), as the Panthers topped the Scarlet Knights in dramatic fashion, 4-3, on Sunday afternoon at the Alpha Tennis and Fitness Center.
Trailing 3-0, the Panthers rallied to capture the final four singles matches for the come-from-behind victory. Pitt has now won two Big East matches in a row, and also handed the Scarlet Knights their first conference loss of the season.
With the match tied at 3-3, all eyes fell upon No. 4 singles. In a three set thriller, Amanda Wickman was able to win the final two sets against Mariam Zein (2-6, 7-5, 6-3) as she clinched the match for the Panthers.
“I am so proud of the way the girls competed this weekend at every position in singles and doubles,” interim head coach Michaela Kissell-Eddins said. “It is great to see hard work pay off and I couldn’t be happier for them. This was definitely one of the most exciting matches I have ever been a part of, and we hope to continue this momentum heading into our spring break training and matches this upcoming week.”
Rutgers took a 1-0 lead in the match by earning doubles victories on courts one and three. Amanda Wickman and Molly Wickman provided Pitt with its lone victory of doubles competition by defeating Kayati/Zein 8-3 on court two. The Wickmans are now 8-3 as a doubles duo this spring.
After Rutgers gained a 3-0 advantage with wins in second and fifth singles, the Panthers had little margin for error, and were able to rally by winning the remaining four singles matches on courts one, three, four and six for the victory.
Taylor Washington provided Pitt with its first point of the afternoon as she won first singles in straight sets against Vanessa Petrini, 6-3, 7-5.
Kimmy Borza then cut the deficit to 3-2 as she was victorious in No. 3 singles against Lindsey Kayati. Borza dropped the first set 6-1, but then repaid the favor in set two with a 6-1 victory. She then put Kayati away with a 6-3 third set victory.
Molly Wickman evened the match with three-all with a 6-4, 6-1 win in sixth singles against Lindsay Balsamo.
On court four, Amanda Wickman fought off Zein in the second set with a narrow 7-5 victory. She then controlled play in the third set with the 6-3 victory to give Pitt the comeback win. Wickman is now a team-best 10-1 in singles action.
Rutgers had won the first 18 contests between the two schools until Sunday afternoon, dating back to their first meeting in the 1979-80 season. Today marked the final regular-season Big East match between the long time conference rivals.
The Panthers will look to even their record Wednesday with a match at Savannah State, and will then travel to Hilton Head, S.C. for a neutral site match with Coastal Carolina on Thursday. These two upcoming matches mark the first time Pitt will compete outside this season.