RAMS CLIP RICHMOND, RETURN TO A-10 FINAL

Atlantic 10 Conference Semifinals
Score: #1 VCU 4, #5 Richmond 2
Location: Orlando, Fla. (USTA National Campus)
Records: VCU 16-5, Richmond 9-12

The short story: Freshman Paola Exposito Diaz-Delgado collected a pair of wins – including a match-clinching victory on the No. 2 singles court, as top-seeded VCU booked a trip to the Atlantic 10 Conference Championship Match for the sixth straight season Saturday. The Rams will meet UMass Sunday in the championship finale at 1 p.m. in a rematch of last year's A-10 title bout, won by the Minutewomen.

OPENING SERVE

  • Diaz-Delgado improved to 4-0 combined at this year's tournament. She rallied past Richmond's Kiana Marshall 6-7 (6), 6-1, 6-2 on the No. 2 singles court. Earlier in the match, she teamed with sophomore Noumea Witmus for a win at No. 2 doubles.
  • Witmus also won at both singles and doubles for the second straight day. After Richmond pulled even in the match with the Rams at 2-2, she edged Lea Owens 6-4, 6-7 (4), 6-2 on the No. 4 court.
  • Freshman Kanako Yano also provided a singles win at No. 5 for VCU.

NOTABLE

  • VCU will be in search of its fifth A-10 title in five seasons on Sunday. The Rams claimed four straight crowns (2013-16) before falling to UMass in last season's final.
  • The Rams have won eight conference titles and have made 14 NCAA Tournament appearances since 2002, when Coach Paul Kostin assumed the reigns of the program
  • Diaz-Delgado improved to 18-9 in singles play with Saturday's win, including 14-5 at No. 2.
  • VCU is 16-1 all-time in A-10 Tournament matches.

RESULTS
#1 VCU 4, #5 RICHMOND 2
Singles
1-Emily Dunbar (UR) def. Anna Rasmussen, 6-3, 6-2
2-Paola Exposito Diaz-Delgado (VCU) def. Kiana Marshall, 6-7(6), 6-1, 6-2
3-Dessi Zlateva (UR) vs. Marina Alcaide Bakkari, 6-7(4), 6-3, 1-0, DNF
4. Noumea Witmus (VCU) def. Lea Owens, 6-4, 6-7(4), 6-2
5-Kanako Yano (VCU) def. Gaby Rosales, 6-4, 7-5
6-Ana Ramirez (UR) def. Sofia Sualehe, 6-4, 6-3
Order of Finish: 1, 6, 5, 4, 2

Doubles
1-Emily Dunbar/Kiana Marshall (UR) def. Anna Rasmussen/Kanako Yano, 6-2
2-Noumea Witmus/Paola Exposito Diaz-Delgado (VCU) def. Lyndell Giffenig/Adrienne Haynes, 6-2
3-Marina Alcaide Bakkari/Sofia Sualehe (VCU) def. Dessi Zlateva/Lea Owens, 6-4
Order of Finish: 2, 1, 3

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