first_imgMaddie Kobelt embraced the moment of success by hugging her doubles teammate Valeria Salazar. Then, she left the court to a wave of high-fives from Syracuse athletic director Daryl Gross and interim head coach Shelley George.The senior had just delivered the biggest set of her final season with the Orange — a take down of Virginia Tech in a tiebreaker, 8-7 (9-7), for the team’s first doubles victory of the day.And Kobelt realized that the momentum led the team to its first win of the season.“I think that really carried over into singles for all the girls,” she said. “This was the first time we won the doubles point all season and half of the work (to the win) was already done.”Kobelt and Salazar faced the pressure of victory against the Hokies’ top pairing of Francesca Fusinato and Raluca Mita, and its win helped the Orange (1-8, 1-3 Atlantic Coast) to a 5-2 win over Virginia Tech (8-4, 2-2) at Drumlins Country Club on Friday. And although Syracuse would fall to No. 3 Virginia (8-2, 3-0) 6-1 on Saturday, its success in doubles in the weekend’s first match is something the team can build on moving forward. AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“Maddie has been spectacular,” George said. “Honestly, the last three matches she has come out to fight and has believed in herself. She was just on fire.”Early on, Fusinato and Mita showed why they are the top duo for the 48th-ranked Hokies. They were aggressive at the point of attack, forcing Salazar to make the big move to keep the Orange competitive in the match.At first, the tactic was successful. Salazar was unable to provide consistency when serving and was on the receiving end of quick and hard serves by the Hokies attack.But Salazar held her own, hitting a big serve down 5-4 in the tiebreaker that caused a weak return and allowed Kobelt to easily put it away at the net. “I think she handled herself very well,” Kobelt said of Salazar’s performance. “All season, we have been playing together and she has been rock solid. You live and die as a team together.”It became clear that the freshman was ready to handle the challenges of the tiebreaker. But if the Orange wanted to secure the lead in doubles, Kobelt needed to become the difference maker in the closing moments.She was aware that Virginia Tech was in position to avoid the blown lead in the tiebreaker and earn critical doubles point. So Kobelt used her powerful serves late in the match to propel the Orange over the top pairing. George wasn’t surprised by Kobelt’s performance. She had nothing but praise for her most reliable player after the match. Syracuse had secured the doubles point over the Hokies, which provided momentum for the winless Orange.And it continued in singles as Kobelt matched up against Fusinato, a freshman who was sulking on the Virginia Tech bench following the loss moments earlier.Kobelt had the psychological advantage after the hard-fought victory in doubles. It showed when she defeated Fusinato in their singles match after two sets, 6-4, 6-3. George was ecstatic to finally see her team gain the edge in doubles and follow up with the success in singles. “It’s been our goal this season to win the doubles point,” George said. “We just feel if we get that momentum coming off the doubles point, it makes things a lot easier going into our singles matches.” Comments Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on March 2, 2014 at 10:58 pmlast_img

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