Gabriela Knutson provides bright spot during Syracuse’s 2-match losing streak

first_img Published on March 9, 2016 at 10:15 pm Contact Charlie: csdistur@syr.edu | @charliedisturco Facebook Twitter Google+ Gabriela Knutson was falling behind in the second set, and, after losing in the first in a tiebreak, was nearing what could be the first singles loss in her collegiate career. After she hit a backhand that landed just past the baseline, she dropped her head and looked at the floor. A few seconds later, she bent over, set her feet on the ground, and readied for the next serve. “I’m the kind of player that needs to relax when I’m playing, otherwise I’ll be too focused on the match and go crazy,” Knutson said.Eventually, her opponent hit a ball that Knutson failed to return. She let out a scream. This time, she dropped her head again. She had lost her first game in what would be Syracuse’s (8-3, 2-3 Atlantic Coast) eighth win of the year.The game was one of back-to-back losses for Knutson, as she wound up losing another match when the Orange played No. 6 Duke the following meet. But since then, she’s bounced back. She factored into both points Syracuse won against North Carolina State on Sunday. She will be a key player when the team plays Georgia Tech (7-5, 2-1) on Friday on the road.“(Gabriela) was very, very solid,” head coach Younes Limam said. “She kept her focus and she took it to the girl. I was very pleased with how she competed all weekend long.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textAfter SU’s win over Notre Dame, the Orange traveled on a two-game road trip to North Carolina and boasted its highest ranking in school history at No. 24.With the first match against Duke, Knutson and her teammate Valeria Salazar took the court, playing in the No. 1 doubles slot. The pair won the first doubles match against Duke. It would be one of the two matches the team won that day. SU won another doubles match, earning Syracuse its only point in the match.In the singles match, Knutson faltered a bit. She fell in a tiebreak during the first set, 7-6. Duke’s Ellyse Hamlin held off any potential comeback in the second set, handing Knutson her second loss of the year. SU then faced N.C. State, and the combination of Knutson and Salazar won its second doubles match of the weekend. The victory, 6-4, over the Wolfpack’s Martina Frantova and Tayla Stenta, and captured their sixth straight win this season. With the two wins, Knutson and Salazar’s jumped to No. 26 in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association’s doubles rankings. The duo was previously unranked. Knutson then beat Bianca Moldovan in singles play. A quick 6-2, 6-1 win secured Syracuse’s second point of the match.Despite SU’s recent struggles, Knutson has been the most consistent performer for the Orange. “Gabriela had a great weekend, Friday and Sunday,” Limam said about Knutson. “I thought she competed really hard on Friday, she just came up a little bit short (against Duke in singles).” Commentslast_img

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