St. John's Defeats Pittsburgh, 6-1, In BIG EAST Home Opener

Senior Ece Firat clinched the match for the Red Storm with a dominating 6-1, 6-3 win at the No. 5 slot.
March 23, 2012


FLUSHING MEADOWS, N.Y. - The St. John's women's tennis team opened a six-match BIG EAST Conference stretch on Friday afternoon outside at the USTA National Tennis Center, and came away with an impressive 6-1 win over visiting Pittsburgh. The Red Storm won five out of six singles matches, including three in straight-sets, to earn the victory in its conference home opener.

St. John's is now 3-9 overall and 2-1 in BIG EAST play, while the Panthers fall to 6-6 overall and 2-4 in conference action. It was the third-straight win over Pitt for the Red and White.

The Red Storm jumped out to the early 1-0 lead on the Panthers by taking two of three doubles matchups in thrilling fashion. After the No. 3 duo of Diamond Adams and Terri Thomas lost by a slim 8-6 margin, No. 1 partners Nakita Austin and Nevena Selakovic topped their opponents 8-4 to level the score. Down 4-1 in the last remaining flight, seniors Ece Firat and Joanna Zwirbulis gutted out an 8-5 win at No. 2 to give St. John's a 1-0 lead in the match.

Adams made quick work of Pitt's Gaby Catanzariti 6-2, 6-1 at No. 2 singles to extend the Red Storm's lead to 2-0. Selakovic stayed hot by winning her third-consecutive match at the top flight with a 6-2, 6-4 decision over Jocelyn Lu to put STJ up 3-0. The win improved the junior to a team-best 8-3 on the season.

Pitt's Kimmy Borza pulled the Panthers to within 3-1 with a 6-2, 6-0 defeat of Thomas, but Firat would clinch the match for the Red Storm with her third-consecutive win, a 6-1, 6-3 triumph over the Amanda Wickman on the fifth court.

With the match already clinched, Zwirbulis won her No. 3 singles matchup 7-5, 3-6, 1-0 (10-7), and Austin put the finishing touches on the lengthy affair with a 6-1, 5-7, 6-3 victory - her third three-set victory of the season. The senior is now 6-6 on the season and has won five-consecutive matches.

The Red Storm continues its six-match BIG EAST stretch when it makes the quick trip to local rival Rutgers (7-6, 2-3) on Sunday afternoon for a 2 p.m. match at the RU Tennis Complex.

To track the St. John's women's tennis squad throughout the season, follow the team on Twitter (@STJ_Tennis) and use the #stjtennis hashtag throughout the conversation.

St. John's 6, Pittsburgh 1

Singles competition
1. Nevena Selakovic (STJ) def. Jocelyn Lu (PITT) 6-2, 6-4
2. Diamond Adams (STJ) def. Gaby Catanzariti (PITT) 6-2, 6-1
3. Joanna Zwirbulis (STJ) def. Taylor Washington (PITT) 7-5, 3-6, 1-0 (10-7)
4. Nakita Austin (STJ) def. Amanda Wickman (PITT) 6-1, 5-7, 6-3
5. Ece Firat (STJ) def. Molly Wickman (PITT) 6-1, 6-3
6. Kimmy Borza (PITT) def. Terri Thomas (STJ) 6-2, 6-0

Doubles competition
1. Nakita Austin / Nevena Selakovic (STJ) def. Jocelyn Lu / Taylor Washington (PITT) 8-4
2. Ece Firat / Joanna Zwirbulis (STJ) def. Gaby Catanzariti / Kimmy Borza (PITT) 8-5
3. Amanda Wickman / Molly Wickman (PITT) def. Terri Thomas / Diamond Adams (STJ) 8-6

Match Notes:
Pittsburgh 6-6, 2-4 BIG EAST
St. John's 3-9, 2-1 BIG EAST
Order of finish: Doubles (3,1,2); Singles (2,1,6,5,3,4)




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