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During the fall season, freshman Shiori Ito made her college debut at the Columbia Invitational and picked up her first victory in singles, finishing the fall season with a singles record of 5-4. Now two weeks into the spring season, Ito has and looked like a veteran with her hard hitting backhands and resilience when trailing.
Ito dominated Saturday after losing her first singles set 3-6, only dropping one game in the last two sets to defeat Olivia Mariotti.
In Syracuse’s (2-0, 0-0 Atlantic Coast) 5-2 win over Brown (0-0), Ito kept a calm and collective demeanor as she aided the Orange in their dominant win. During her No. 4 singles match, Ito performed underwhelmingly in the first set, winning only 3 games to Mariotti’s 6 games, who repeatedly advanced to net and sent line drives at Ito. As Ito jumped off the bench to start the second set, she was determined to make this her first and last loss of the day and eventually caught up to Mariotti’s game plan.
“It just took a little bit of time for Shiori to adjust to the style of game of her opponent, who was playing with a lot of consistency,” head coach Younes Limam said.
Ito countered Mariotti’s hard hits with some of her own, going on to win the first game of the second set. Eventually, Ito won the second set 6-1 and swept her opponent 6-0 in the last set, completing the comeback victory. Ito improved to 2-0 in the singles matchup this season.
Limam said that Ito showed resilience in her match and adjusted to her opponent’s gameplan to come out with the win.
In the Orange’s No. 2 doubles spot, Ito paired up with fellow freshman Miyuka Kimoto. During the fall season, they recorded three victories in their matches at the Northeast Super Regionals. The duo continued to dominate on Saturday and moved to 2-0 after their win over Brown’s Mariotti and Julia Newman, winning 6-3.
From hustling side to side to keep the ball inbounds, or adding a soft touch to keep their opponents advancing to the net, the duo has improved since the start of the season. They’ve won a combined 12 matches while only dropping six.
“They miss a shot, they bounce back and refocus or if they win a point, they celebrate that and move on to the next one,” Limam said. “It’s been a lot of fun watching them so far.”
After the first two matches of the season, the Orange’s combined singles record is 9-3, including four of their players with undefeated records so far. Their doubles record matches the early dominance at 5-1, showing the combined resilience and authoritative command the Orange have taken during the spring season.
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