Royals Ground Eagles, 5-3, In Landmark Semifinal Action Thursday At Royal Courts; Walsh, Azzalina Lead The Way With Two Wins Apiece

Megan Azzalina Emily Walsh Devon Cohen
Nicole Mahaffey Lisa-Marie Lanciotti Head Coach Janice Winslow

Box Score
Photo Gallery (courtesy of Dan Ceccacci)

SCRANTON, Pa.—The University of Scranton women’s tennis team rose to the occasion against Juniata College in the semifinals of the Landmark Conference tournament Thursday afternoon at the Royal Courts.

Each of the Royals’ singles entries moved up a spot in the lineup after head coach Janice Winslow decided to rest senior Stephanie Boccuzzi (Doylestown, Pa./Central Bucks East), who has been nursing a tender ankle all season long and who was also coming off a hard-fought loss at the number one doubles.

Scranton, the two-time defending champion, got two wins apiece from sophomore Emily Walsh (Scranton, Pa./Scranton Preparatory) and junior Megan Azzalina (Easton, Pa./Notre Dame) to post a 5-3 victory. The win was the fifth straight and ninth in the last 10 matches for the Royals, now 11-6. They will host Catholic University Saturday at a time to be announced Friday.

The Royals took a 1-0 lead after Azzalina and junior Lisa-Marie Lanciotti (Northport, NY/Kings Park) downed Rachel Yurchisin (Cleveland, Ohio/Padua Franciscan) and Cara Stough (Friendsville, Md./Northern Garrett), 8-4, at the three doubles and moments later led 2-0 behind an 8-6 win by Walsh and senior Devon Cohen (Ambler, Pa./Hatboro-Horsham) over Tori Gray (York, Pa./Central York) and Mitsuki Koh (Cupertino, Calif./Monta Vista) at two.

Megan Phillips (Jefferson Hills, Pa./Thomas Jefferson) and Heather Waring (San Antonio, Texas/John Jay) got the Eagles on the scoreboard with an 8-5 win over Bocuzzi and junior Nicole Mahaffey (Harrisburg, Pa./Trinity) at the number one doubles.

Playing the number two singles spot for only the second time this season, Walsh put the Royals up 3-1 with a straight-set 6-1, 6-0 victory over Phillips, improving to 12-0 this year and 23-5 in her career.

The Eagles, now 11-6, tied it up behind wins by Waring over Cohen, 6-3, 6-1, and Jacklyn Renninger (Manheim, Pa./Manheim Central) over Emily Machado (Fishkill, NY/Our Lady of Lourdes), 6-2, 6-1, at one and six, respectively, before Mahaffey and Azzalina closed it out with straight-set victories.

Mahaffey improved to 11-1 on the season and 28-13 in her career with a 6-0, 7-5 win over Koh at four while Azzalina out-lasted Yurchisin, 6-4, 6-4, at three to move to 12-3 on the year and 32-13 in her career.

Earlier this season on April 12 at the Royal Courts, Scranton defeated Catholic University, 6-3.  The Cardinals advanced to Saturday’s championship match with a 5-4 victory over Moravian College yesterday.  

The Royals will be making their fourth straight Landmark Conference championship match appearance Saturday, having defeated Goucher College, 5-3, last year and Susquehanna University, 5-0, in 2012, but lost to Moravian College, 5-4, in 2011.

The results of today’s match are as follows:

Scranton 5, Juniata 3

Doubles
1. Megan Phillips/Heather Waring (J) def. Stephanie Boccuzzi/Nicole Mahaffey, 8-5
2. Devon Cohen/Emily Walsh (S) def. Tori Gray/Mitsuki Koh, 8-6
3. Megan Azzalina/Lisa-Marie Lanciotti (S) def. Rachel Yurchisin/Cara Stough, 8-4
 
Singles  
1. Heather Waring (J) def. Devon Cohen, 6-3, 6-1
2. Emily Walsh (S) def. Megan Phillips, 6-1, 6-0
3. Megan Azzalina (S) def. Rachel Yurchisin, 6-4, 6-4
4. Nicole Mahaffey (S) def. Mitsuki Koh, 6-0, 7-5
5. Lisa-Marie Lanciotti (S) vs. Tori Gray, 3-6, 6-1, unfinished
6. Jacklyn Renninger (J) def. Emily Machado, 6-2, 6-1

Order of finish: Doubles (3,2,1); Singles (2,1,6,4,3)
Official: Art Imdorf 

--ROYALS--

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