Netters finish season strong

It was a weekend of ups and downs for the women’s tennis team as they advanced to the semi-final round of the Mid-American Conference tournament for the first time in seven years.

The Falcons came back in dramatic fashion from a 0-3 deficit to claim a quarterfinal victory from Miami on Friday. It was described as “the biggest comeback she has ever been a part of or will probably ever see,” by BG coach Penny Dean,

The team found themselves in a hole against the Redhawks after dropping the doubles point and the No. 4 and No. 6 singles flights.

The storybook comeback could not have played out any better for the squad.

After receiving two wins from freshmen Katia Babina and Samantha Kintzel, the fate of the match was left up to sisters Ashley and Kelsey Jackupcin.

At No. 3 Singles, Kelsey Jakupcin was able to win in three sets 6-3, 2-6 and 7-5, which left Ashley Jakupcin to play out the deciding match.

“Of all the players I would want to have out there, Ashley would be my pick,” said Dean.

Dropping her first set 2-6, Jakupcin claimed the second set 6-2. In a match played by two seniors trying to keep their final season going, they competed back and forth in the third set, which was forced into a tiebreaker.

Dean said that “digging deep” and “playing with guts” led Jakupcin to the victory in the match, as she won the tiebreaker set 7-6.

“I think our performance showed how much heart and toughness our team has,” said Dean in response to the comeback.

But the Falcons could not celebrate for long before returning to play the next day where they faced top-seeded Western Michigan in the semi-final round.

BG began with a doubles loss as the top two flights dropped their matches, which resulted in the halting of the third flight of play as they Broncos already claimed the majority of doubles matches.

Next came three losses at the top three singles flights which sealed the match for Western Michigan and brought the team’s season to an end.

The remainder of the singles matches were not played out as the Broncos had already claimed four points in the match.

“Overall we had a very good season,” Dean said. “Looking back there are a couple of matches we could have won, including some in the conference, but we definitely came out with some big wins.”

The team will miss the leadership of their two graduating seniors, team captains Ashley Jakupcin and Erica Wolfe.

“Erica is the heart and soul of this team and a great leader,” Dean said.

Ashley Jakupcin was recently named both first team all MAC and to the all-tournament team. She had 77 wins in her career at BG, which places her third on the all time list. In addition, she has 131 total career wins, placing her at eighth in school history.

BG will return seven players going into next season and will look to incoming freshman Christine Chiricosta, a high school doubles champion to step into the lineup.

“We definitely have some momentum going into next year,” Dean said.

The Falcons ended their season with a 13-9 record.