Stupak stays unbeaten as Lady Bucs battled Lady Bulldogs and elements
STARKVILLE, Miss. (Feb. 28, 2009) - After battling a two hour rain delay to start the match the ETSU women's tennis team fell just short at No. 65 Mississippi State 4-1, Saturday on the campus of MSU in Starkville, Miss. With the loss ETSU falls to 1-3, while Mississippi State stayed unbeaten and now sits with an 8-0 mark on the season.
With the doubles portion of the match canceled due to the on-and-off rain and wind ETSU opened singles play outdoors at the A.J. Pitts Tennis Center. The Lady Bucs held an early lead in three of the opening singles contests, before the weather came pouring down again causing another 50-minute delay forcing the match to be moved into the McCarthy Gymnasium.
"I thought our girls played really well outside to start the match, but we were a bit unlucky with the weather situation today," said head coach Steve Brooks. "When we started play we were up 2-1 and looking strong, but then as we moved indoors the format of the match, as well as, the surface all changed that gave a big advantage to Mississippi State."
With the match now moved into the two-court indoor gym the Lady Bulldogs took an early 2-0 lead after State won both the No. 5 and No. 6 singles contests. MSU freshman Natalia Mayuk took control of her match after winning the first set outdoors eventually dropping freshman Karina Kedzo (Puerto Ordaz, Venezuela) in straight sets 6-0, 6-1. The Lady Bulldogs followed that up as junior Valeryia Makarycheva closed out her contest with sophomore Tara Sheets (Gate City, Va.) 6-0, 6-1.
Even after Mississippi State gained the early momentum ETSU wouldn't go quietly. After taking a 3-2 lead, before the inclement weather delay No. 74th-ranked junior Yevgeniya Stupak (Kyiv, Ukraine) continued to dominate play indoors as the preseason Atlantic Sun Player of the Year made quick work of former NCAA second-round participant Martina Banikova in straight sets, 7-5, 6-0. Unfortunately, after leading in both of their matches outdoors seniors Tara Byrne (Johnson City) and Vita Moskaliova (Minsk, Belarus) fell just short inside the Lady Bulldogs facility as Byrne dropped a three-set heartbreaking contest to Olesya Tsigvintseva in No. 2 singles 4-6, 6-2, 6-2, while Moskaliova fell to Radka Ferancova, 6-3, 6-2.
"I thought Tara's match could have gone either way," said Brooks. "There were multiple points that went to deuce and really it was a matter of how the ball fell. It was good however to see Yevgeniya play so well against a former NCAA Singles participant and an all-conference performer in Banikova. Also it was good to see Vita return to her form today. Despite her losing her match it seems like every contest we play in she is looking better and better and regaining her confidence after battling so many injuries the last couple of years. Vita is very important to our team's success and hopefully she can continue to build on what she did today as we move forward."
Freshman Paula Jamie's (Madrid, Spain) singles contest against Natalia Mayuk was suspended with the ETSU newcomer up 4-3 in the first set.
The Lady Bucs return to action with their first home and conference match this coming weekend as ETSU welcomes league foes Lipscomb and Belmont to the Buddy Hartsell Tennis Center.
#65 Mississippi State 4, East Tennessee State 1
Feb. 28, 2009 - A.J. Pitts Tennis Center
SINGLES - Yevgeniya Stupak (ETSU) def. Martina Banikova (MSU) 7-5, 6-0; Olesya Tsigvintseva (MSU) def. Tara Byrne (ETSU) 4-6, 6-2, 6-2; Radka Ferancova (MSU) def. Vita Moskaliova (ETSU) 6-3, 6-2; Elna de Villiers (MSU) vs. Paula Jaime (ETSU) 4-3, susp.; Natalia Mayuk (MSU) def. Karina Kedzo (ETSU) 6-0, 6-1; Valeriya Makarycheva (MSU) def. Tara Sheets (ETSU) 6-0, 6-1.
DOUBLES - Not contested.
For more information on the women's tennis team, visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the team's page.