Alfred University and St. John Fisher University Secure Spots in 2023 Empire 8 Women's Tennis Championship

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Alfred University and St. John Fisher University Secure Spots in 2023 Empire 8 Women's Tennis Championship

HOUGHTON, NY – In an electrifying turn of events, the 2023 Empire 8 Women's Tennis Championship will witness a showdown between No. 2 seed Alfred University and No. 4 seed St. John Fisher University. Both teams triumphed in thrilling semifinal matches at Houghton University. St. John Fisher made history by defeating top-seeded and defending E8 Champion Hartwick College with a score of 5-4, while Alfred rallied to conquer No. 3 seed Nazareth University, also with a 5-4 score. The championship clash is set to take place at Houghton on Saturday at 1 p.m.

The victor of the Empire 8 Championship match on Saturday will secure the automatic bid to the 2024 NCAA Division III Women's Tennis Championship, scheduled to begin on May 10. St. John Fisher's remarkable victory marked the first time a No. 4 seed defeated a No. 1 seed in Empire 8 Women's Tennis Championship Tournament history. Alfred enters the E8 title match with a 12-2 record, while St. John Fisher stands at 4-6.

Both Alfred and St. John Fisher are vying for their second Empire 8 Championship. Alfred clinched their sole title in 2004, and St. John Fisher emerged victorious in 2019. Notably, Alfred won against St. John Fisher with a score of 6-3 earlier in the regular season on September 23. The Saxons have now won the last two matches in the series history after Fisher had a five-match winning streak from 2017 to 2021.

No. 4 St. John Fisher 5, No. 1 Hartwick 4
The Cardinals made history in the Empire 8 by being the first No. 4 seed to defeat a No. 1 seed in the league tournament. St. John Fisher secured a commanding 3-0 lead by winning all three doubles matches. Although the Hawks clinched four of the first five singles matches, Abby Garvey's victory at fifth singles turned the tide, propelling the Cardinals to their third E8 title match in program history, all achieved within the last five seasons.

All three doubles matches were closely contested, but Fisher managed to secure victories in all three. Maddy Langley and Kathryn Strait won the first doubles with a score of 8-6, followed by duos Eliana Kelly/Abby Garvey and Madison Galvin/Lilly Renzi, who won their respective matches with scores of 8-5.

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The Hawks mounted a comeback by winning the first two singles matches, with Jade Killikelly and Lily Vanuga prevailing at second and fourth singles, respectively. However, Lilly Renzi of Fisher defeated Ryann Ashby of Hartwick 6-0, 6-1 at third singles, putting Fisher ahead 4-2, with three singles matches remaining.

Phoebe Olson secured a straight-set win at first singles for the Hawks, and Maggie VanValkenburgh tied the match with a victory at sixth singles. Garvey would then seal the deal, making history for the Cardinals with a straight-set victory over Colleen Marsh, with a score of 6-1, 6-0.

Hartwick, the defending Empire 8 Champion, now holds a 9-4 record for 2023, with their 15-match winning streak against E8 opponents coming to an end.

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