Seniors Masha Tritou, Libi Mesh re-emerge in Syracuse lineup
Published on February 18, 2019 at 10:07 pm Contact Andrew: [email protected] | @CraneAndrew Comments Facebook Twitter Google+ Masha Tritou wandered around center court during Syracuse’s season-opening win again Brown. She chatted with other SU athletes that had come to Drumlins Country Club to watch. Head coach Younes Limam’s two children, Lina and Ryan, sat on the bleachers, and Tritou came over to high five them. Back and forth she paced, mixing in shouts of encouragement to other Syracuse players. Not listed on the rotation, Tritou “had to do something” to keep busy during sets.For the next three weeks, Tritou and fellow senior Libi Mesh strolled the sidelines during matches. When a court opened up, they’d face another reserve in a practice match, not counting towards the final score but preparing them for when they got the opportunity. On Feb. 8 against No. 7 Pepperdine, they got their chance. Freshman Sonya Treshcheva rolled her ankle in practice three days prior, and a spot opened in SU’s lineup. Mesh won her singles match against the Waves, while Tritou led for the majority of her unfinished doubles match against the No. 12 pair in the country. Two days later, both remained in the lineup. They haven’t left since, and their reemergence has contributed to SU’s (6-4, 0-2 Atlantic Coast) two-match winning streak.“It’s really hard and demotivating to travel and go, and then not play,” senior Gabriela Knutson said. “For them, it was suddenly ‘Oh, I am playing.’”Susie Teuscher | Digital Design EditorAdvertisementThis is placeholder textAt the beginning of the season, Limam told Tritou and Mesh that it’s a long season, and their opportunity would come. During her freshman year, Mesh played in every match and earned SU’s first point in its first NCAA Tournament win in program history against Georgia State. Last year, Tritou and fellow senior Dina Hegab clinched the doubles point for Syracuse against then-No. 3 Georgia Tech, and Tritou followed with a singles win later in the day.But for the first three weeks of the spring season, Mesh and Tritou watched from the stands. Sonya Treshcheva beat out the two seniors for singles and doubles slots. Treshcheva’s prior experience playing in Russia with sophomore Sofya Golubovskaya as a doubles partner led to Limam pairing the two together. Treshcheva and Golubovskaya won only two matches leading up to the Intercollegiate Tennis Association National Women’s Team Indoor Championships just over a week ago.In singles, after winning her first two matches, Treshcheva had only one win over her next four. Against Virginia on Feb. 1, she wore a full-length protective sleeve on her right arm and pressed multiple bags of ice to her arm after the match. And then in practice last Tuesday, she injured her ankle.“Control everything you can control,” Limam said. “And then when you get the call, you’re ready to roll.”Against Pepperdine, when Tritou and Golubovskaya faced the No. 12 doubles pair in the country, Tritou played her way into a recurring role. Although their match was abandoned after SU’s first and third doubles lost, Tritou and Golubovskaya led 2-1 and 4-3 at certain points. Two days later, Tritou was lined up at second doubles again. Her match against Pepperdine wouldn’t have happened if not for a Mesh victory in a third-set tiebreaker earlier that day.After her straight-set victory against Colorado last Friday, her second in three matches, Mesh stood with assistant athletics director/athletic performance (Olympic sports) William Hicks alongside the bleachers. “You made her move,” Hicks said and swung his hands back and forth to represent basic shots. “But then when you’d get her moving,” and Hicks emphatically threw his arm across his body. Mesh’s match point came when a Colorado forehand shot went into the net. After a long rally, a hard Mesh forehand pinned Ky Ecton into the corner, forcing the error.Up until two weeks ago, Mesh and Tritou had wandered, albeit, not on the court. Since then, they’ve sprinted from the front of the net to the back, and from one side of the court to the other. Their names wandered up the Syracuse lineup card, the seniors once again playing in matches that count.“You never know what tomorrow is going to bring, so I was very pleased on how Masha stepped up, and Libi did too,” Limam said.