first_imgDina Hegab needed one more point. Serving at 5-4, 40-15, Hegab’s second serve was immediately attacked by her opponent Elene Tsokilauri. The return placed Hegab on the defensive from the opening ball of the rally. Tsokilauri attacked, taking the ball early, hitting a forehand into the far corner. But, Hegab was ready. In a dead sprint, Hegab lunged with her backhand, flicking the ball up the line, past a charging Tsokilauri to win the match for Syracuse. Her teammates and the fans erupted in cheer, and after she shook hands with her opponent, teammate Gabriela Knutson gave Hegab a thumbs up.“I was just digging in so deep,” Hegab said. “It’s one of my favorite shots, I’m glad it worked.”With Knutson’s thumbs up, Hegab knew she was the fourth point. The crowd noise gave her a clue as to the importance of her match, but she said she was unaware of just how important it was.“Sometimes we can feel what’s happening on the other courts,” Hegab said. “Today, I didn’t know.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textHegab’s clutch play was one of several for SU. First, in doubles, Anna Shkudun and Sofya Golubovskaya rallied from 1-3 down to claim the doubles point. In singles, Hegab and Knutson earned wins as Syracuse (5-1, 1-1 Atlantic Coast) picked up its first ACC win of the season over Boston College (3-3, 0-2) 5-2 Friday afternoon at Drumlins Country Club.Last season, in a 5-2 loss to Boston College, both Knutson and Hegab lost. This year, the two led the way in earning the third and fourth points for the Orange. Knutson and Hegab are the only Syracuse players undefeated in singles, with an 11-0 combined record.Knutson partnered with Miranda Ramirez in doubles, and the No. 13 doubles pairing in the country won 6-4. With a set level at 4-all, Ramirez took over, forcing her opponents into errors that gave SU the break. Then, Knutson served the match out with an ace, another unreturned serve and a backhand that tagged the opposing net player.At sixth singles, Hegab found herself in a battle from the opening point. Trailing 2-4 in the opening set, Hegab changed her approach. She said she adjusted better and took advantage of her opponent’s mistakes. The improvements to her game showed as the Orange cards started flipping. Hegab won the final four games of the opening set to take it 6-4.In the second set, Hegab grabbed the early break before she was pegged back by Tsokilauri. Trailing 3-4 in the second set, SU’s lead looked precarious.With three points already on the scoreboard from doubles, Ramirez, and Knutson, it was unclear where SU would find its fourth point. On the court next to Hegab, Shkudun began a third set. Another court over from Shkudun was Golubovskaya, who had just squandered the second set 7-5. Both matches were final set bound, and Drumlins was the loudest it had been to date this season.“I felt this was the loudest match we have ever played here, I felt the energy more,” Hegab said.Hegab won the final three games of the set, serving it out confidently, losing just one point while her opponent made two unforced errors. Despite being admittedly nervous, Hegab was patient, forcing herself to breathe extra in between each point. On the first match point, Hegab reached back and clocked a forehand up the line that just missed. The second one, she made no mistake.“Dina is playing with a lot of confidence,” head coach Younes Limam said. “She did improve a lot compared to the last two years.”Knutson struggled early in singles, dropping four of the first five games of her singles match before calming herself down to win 11 of the final 12 games of her match to win 6-4, 6-1. She overcame early frustrations to become more patient and play out longer rallies.“I definitely needed to stay in the rallies and wait for that shot that she would eventually miss,” Knutson said. “I knew I was the better player on the court.”With all of the uncertainty in those final moments, Syracuse held its nerve and remained confident. In front of the energetic crowd, the Orange found the fourth point. Comments Published on February 16, 2018 at 9:03 pm Contact Anthony: [email protected] Facebook Twitter Google+last_img