ETTRICK, VA – After missing the 2020 and 2021 seasons due to concerns regarding COVID-19, the Shaw Lady Bears (17-3) picked up right where they left off as the top-seeded Lady Bears took a 4-0 win over the second-seeded Johnson C. Smith Golden Bulls (12-10) to claim the 2022 Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) Women’s Tennis Championship, Saturday afternoon. Though the Lady Bears took the win in a sweep on the scoreboard, the team had to face some tough competition on the courts to claim the victory.
“After missing out on the 2020 and the 2021 championships, I’m really proud for us to be back on the court with our ladies. They give me 110% on and off the court and I’m so impressed by them,” said Shaw University Women’s Tennis Head Coach Sunday Enitan.
The competition was tough from the very beginning with both teams coming out with some strong play in doubles. The Lady Bears were able to strike first when the duo of senior Kumai Manyonga and junior Chetna Kumari combined for a 6-0 win at #3 doubles over the JCSU freshman duo of Shaytonya Missick and Sanaa Hewitt while the Shaw duo of sophomore Dana Moreno and junior Michelle Blaha combined for a 6-1 win over Golden Bulls junior Chetna Moyana and junior Taylor Proffatt-Brooks at #1 doubles. With the double’s point clinched, the #2 doubles match ended unfinished.
With the doubles point secured, the Lady Bears went on into singles competition and clawed their way to a win, but the Golden Bulls were competitive every step of the way. The first singles win came in the #6 slot when CIAA Rookie of the Year Anja Antoijevic took a 6-0, 6-0 win over Hewitt to leave the Lady Bears with a 2-0 lead. From there, Shaw’s Moreno took a 6-1, 6-0 win at #1 singles, defeating JCSU’s Missick to leave the Lady Bears on top, 3-0. The clinching point came from #2 singles when Blaha took a 6-3, 6-2 win over JCSU freshman Kyndall Ragins to seal the win.
After leading the Lady Bears to the victory, Michelle Blaha was honored as the 2022 CIAA Women’s Tennis Championship Tournament Most Valuable Player (MVP).
The victory gave the Lady Bears their fourth straight CIAA Women’s Tennis Championship while the Golden Bulls’ loss marks their third straight loss in the championship finals. With the win, the Lady Bears secure an automatic bid into the 2022 NCAA Division II Atlantic Region Tournament. Seedings and locations for the regional tournament will be announced on May 3rd.
As the Lady Bears look ahead to the upcoming regional championship tournament, Enitan knows what it will take in order for his team to advance in the tournament. “More dedication and practice,” Enitan said. “We are heading into the regional tournament and we’re going to have to play our game.”
For more information on CIAA Women’s Tennis log on to www.TheCIAA.com.