ETSU women's tennis falls 4-0 to Vanderbilt in NCAA first round
Senior Sylwia Ziolkowska competed in her final match at ETSU on Friday.
Senior Sylwia Ziolkowska competed in her final match at ETSU on Friday.

Friday, May 12, 2006

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (May 12, 2006) -- The ETSU women's tennis team made history Friday, playing in the team's first-ever NCAA Championship match. However, 12th-ranked Vanderbilt did not let the Lady Bucs bask too long in their postseason glory, defeating ETSU 4-0 and ending what was a record-setting 2005-06 season.


But the Lady Bucs did not go without leaving an impression, fighting throughout a match that which lasted nearly two and a half hours. Head coach Steve Brooks said he didn't know what to expect from his team in their first trip to the NCAAs, but he was pleasantly surprised with their competitiveness and fight.


"After the match Vanderbilt's coach came over and told me that in his 20 years this was the toughest first round match he has had," Brooks said. "I think that is a great compliment to the girls and it sums up the day. We played hard and really gave them a battle."


            Since winning the Atlantic Sun Conference Championship back on April 14, the Lady Bucs struggled to overcome the four-week hiatus from play and some early jitters led to early deficits in both doubles and singles action. In the end, Vanderbilt took advantage by winning the doubles point thanks to Amanda Fish and Taka Bertrand's 8-2 win over ETSU's Masha Ilina (Kyiva, Ukraine) and Sylvia Ziolkowska (Warsaw, Poland), and Amanda Taylor and Carolina Ferrell's 8-5 victory over the Lady Bucs' Olya Batsula (Minsk, Belarus) and Tara Byrne (Johnson City, Tenn.).


The Commodores then took wins in three singles matches to put away the victory. Bertrand def. Batsula, 6-2, 6-4, Taylor def. ETSU's Elena Volobueva (Bacelona, Spain), 6-1, 6-1, and Yahner def. Ziolkowska, 6-2, 6-3. In three other singles matches that did not finish, Ilina enjoyed a tough battle in the first set against Fish, eventually falling 7-5, senior Sandie Knight (Adamstown, Australia) gave the Lady Bucs' their lone set victory with a 6-2 win in the first against Courtney Ulery, and Byrne was behind 4-6, 2-4 to Ferrell when play was haulted.


"It hurt us not playing before the NCAAs and having four weeks off, especially in doubles you could see it," Brooks said. "The wind was also an issue today. As a team, we were not as quick as you need to be and we lost a lot of opportunities because the ball was moving around so much."


Despite the loss, Brooks had something positive to say about the entire team.


"Masha really came out strong in singles and I think she gave them some trouble," he said. "Elena's match was a lot closer than it appears, Olya overcame a really slow start to play well, Sylvia played great in doubles, Tara handled her first NCAA trip great for a freshman, and Sandie won a set. I think it was obvious to everyone down here that we belonged out there in this event.


"We talked about this before coming to Nashville, and we all agreed that this is not the end of the season, it was the beginning of next season. We had already accomplished all our goals for this past season - like winning the conference tournament and going to the NCAAs. All this was is something to continue to build on and cherish."


The Lady Bucs will certainly return a strong group next year. Despite the losses of Ziolkowska and Knight, the team returns players like Ilina, the A-Sun Player of the Year, and Byrne, the A-Sun Freshman of the Year, to go along with Batsula, Volobueva, and freshman Vita Moskaliova.  


            Keep up with ETSU women's tennis throughout the summer months and into the 2006-07 season by visiting



Vanderbilt 4, ETSU 0


No. 1 -Masha Ilina (ETSU) vs. Amanda Fish, 5-7, 3-4 (DNF)

No. 2 - Taka Bertrand (Vandy) def. Olya Batsula, 6-2, 6-4

No. 3 - Amanda Taylor (Vandy) def. Elena Volobueva, 6-1, 6-1

No. 4 - Sandie Knight (ETSU) vs. Courtney Ulery, 6-2, 3-5 (DNF)

No. 5 - Tara Byrne (ETSU) vs. Caroline Ferrell, 4-6, 2-4 (DNF)

No. 6 - Maggie Yahner (Vandy) def. Sylwia Ziolkowska, 6-2, 6-3


Bertrand/Fish (Vandy) def. Ziolkowska/Ilina, 8-2

Taylor/Ferrell (Vandy) def. Batsula/Byrne, 8-5

Volobueva/Knight (ETSU) vs. Ulery/Sveke, 4-7 (DNF)


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