Lions crowned back-to-back Canadian University Tennis Champions

The York University Lions women’s tennis team successfully defended their Canadian University Tennis Championships (CUTC) title on July 30, when they defeated their rivals the Montreal Carabins 4-3 in the final at Stade Uniprix in Montreal.

lions tennisAfter dropping the doubles point to the Carabins, the Lions were awarded a point for the sixth singles spot after the Carabins defaulted due to an injury. With the score knotted at 1-1 going into singles play, York and Montreal had a tight back and forth contest which saw the lead change hands twice before the Lions pulled out the win.

Lions number one seed Nikki Carnovale (Woodbridge, Ont.) fell to Montreal’s Marianne Jordan in the opening match before Eugenie Lim ah Tock (Curepipe, Mauritius), who played exceptionally well out of the three spot all tournament, evened the score at 2-2. Isabella Baston (Toronto) put York ahead 3-2 with a victory in the five spot, followed by number two seed Ivana Banovic (Oshawa, Ont.) dropping a tough match to the Carabins Clémentine Michallon, setting the stage for a winner-take-all matchup between the four seeds.

With the national title on the line, Lions rookie Heather Hills (Markham, Ont.) took on Montreal’s Catherine Drolet and delivered a clutch performance, winning 6-4 and 6-3 to earn York their second consecutive national championship.

The Lions advanced to Saturday’s final with a hard fought victory over the McGill Martlett’s in the semi-finals on July 28. Beginning with doubles play, McGill took the match of No. 1 pairings, but York proved too strong with their depth, winning both second and third team pairings, giving them the first point of the semifinal. With the point, the Lions only needed to win three singles matches to advance to the final.

Once singles match play began, the Lions women showed their depth again as Carnovale, Lim Ah Tock, Baston and sixth seed Julia Khalilova (Etobicoke, Ont.) were all able to win their matches, securing York a place in the final. The fixture was close throughout, with a final score of 5-2 for the Lions.

The Lions women’s tennis program has been on quite a roll since head coach Chris Field took over the program in 2014, and they have only lost once in the last two years. In addition to the 2015 and 2016 CUTC banners, the Lions won the 2014 OUA Championship and also picked up the silver medal at the 2015 OUA Championships.

Field was awarded the Coaching Excellence Award as the winning coach of the national title.

The Lions wills be back on the court when they begin the 2016 OUA season at home against the Western Mustangs on Sunday, Sept. 18 at noon.