No. 2 ETSU will face top-seeded Stetson Saturday at 10:00 a.m.
johnson city, Tenn. (April 17, 2009) - After losing to Atlantic Sun Conference rival Jacksonville the past two straight A-Sun tournament championship matches, the ETSU women's tennis team closed the book on the Dolphins season dropping JU 4-1, Friday during semifinal play of the 2009 A-Sun Women's Tennis Championships at the Buddy Hartsell Tennis Center in Johnson City, Tenn.
With the win the second-seeded Lady Bucs will now face top-seeded Stetson in Saturday morning's championship contest. The winner of that 10:00 a.m., battle automatically earns the league's bid into the 2009 NCAA tournament championship field.
ETSU opened by rolling past the Dolphins as doubles competition started. The Lady Buc duo of junior Yevgenyia Stupak (Kyiv, Ukraine) and freshman Paula Jaime (Madrid, Spain) rolled past Tatiana Soldatova and Iva Jaresova, 8-4, while teammates senior Tara Byrne (Johnson City) and freshman Karina Kedzo (Puerto Ordaz, Venezuela) matched the Lady Bucs first match with an strong 8-2 performance over Fernanda Carrero and Juliana Umeki.
After taking the 1-0 lead the match turned to a number of tough singles contests. After junior Whitney Trotter (Guadajara, Mexico) dropped her No. 6 match to Carrero, 6-2, 6-3 the Lady Bucs rebounded as Jaime stayed unbeaten this season in league play, with a 6-2, 6-4 straight set win in No. 4 singles against Iva Jaresova.
With the Lady Bucs holding a tight 2-1 advantage sophomore Tara Sheets (Gate City, Va.) continued her dominate play lately rolling past Virginia Iwinski 6-0, 6-4 stretching ETSU lead to a one point advantage.
Needing only one more win to advance to the title match both Kedzo and Byrne breezed through their first set with ease. Byrne rolled to a quick 6-2 first frame win over Elvira Yusupova, while newcomer Kedzo matched the all-time ETSU wins leader's first set with an identical 6-2 win over Juliana Umeki.
Both Kedzo and Byrne kept their momentum early in second set racing out to quick 5-3 leads. As both players tried to close out their match Jacksonville wouldn't go down easy fighting swing-for-swing forcing multiple deuce and match points in games eight and nine. After JU closed the match to 5-4, Byrne showed her senior captain toughness closing out the second set and match 6-4 giving the Lady Bucs their fourth straight A-Sun championship match appearance.
Attached above are the final scores between ETSU and Jacksonville, in addition to quotes by head ETSU coach Steve Brooks. For more tournament information and coverage please visit the Atlantic Sun Conference website at www.atlanticsun.org.