Flushing, N.Y. - Make it a six-peat for the NYIT women's tennis team! And this may be the most rewarding title yet.
With the NYIT and Queens women's tennis teams deadlocked at four matches apiece in the East Coast Conference Championships final on Saturday, Rookie of the Year Ivana Andric topped Laura Ortega Jover in a three-set thriller at third singles to deliver the Bears their sixth straight league title.
NYIT entered the fall as the ECC's preseason favorite, but went only 4-3 in league play during the regular season and had its 31-match league winning streak halted. In fact, had Andric not won a decisive match on the final day of the regular season at Roberts Wesleyan to deliver a 5-4 victory against the Redhawks, NYIT would have failed to qualify for the ECC Championships.
Queens had been 11-0 overall entering Saturday's match and went 7-0 in the ECC during the regular season.
The third-seeded Bears narrowly defeated No. 2 seed LIU Post on Friday, 5-4. In the semifinal against the Pioneers, ECC Player of the Year Lena Dimmer won the decisive match in three sets.
Saturday's title secures an automatic bid for NYIT to the NCAA Championships in the spring.
"This win meant so much to us," Dimmer said. "We were clearly the underdog today, but we fought until the end and we got rewarded with a sixth straight ECC Championships title. There is no better way to end a season with an amazing team."
Queens had defeated the Bears, 7-1, in Old Westbury on Oct. 18, although NYIT forfeited or retired from three matches that day because of maladies involving Alessia Rossetti and Rosa LaCorte.
The Bears, who have beaten Queens in each of the last six finals, resume play on March 9 against NJIT.
"I couldn't be more proud of the women playing today," coach Owen Kassimir said. "They played with heart and stayed tough until the end. I knew it would come down to the final match. Ivana stayed steady throughout the match and finished strong to clinch."
Provided by the NYIT Sports Information Department.