DeLAND, Fla. (April 17, 2010) - Like the saying goes all good things must come to an end. Unfortunately for the 70th-ranked ETSU women's tennis team the best season in school history ended abruptly as second-seeded and 64th-ranked North Florida upset the Lady Bucs 4-1 late Saturday afternoon in the 2010 Atlantic Sun Conference Championships at the Mandy Stoll Tennis Center.
"First I'd like to congratulate North Florida for playing an outstanding match," said head coach Steve Brooks. "All season they have played well and today they simply got it done when they had to. Far as our team goes after not ending our match to after 10:30 p.m. last night the girls came out tired early. Not having that sharpness was an important factor the deeper we competed today."
The Lady Ospreys quickly got out of the gate as the UNF No. 1 and No. 3 doubles teams squeaked out wins for the early 1-0 lead. Despite the Lady Buc sophomore team of Paula Jaime (Madrid, Spain) and Karina Kedzo (Puerto Ordaz, Venezuela) winning easily at the No. 2 slot, senior Yevgeniya Stupak (Kyiv, Ukraine) and junior Kelly Holtzhausen (Johannesburg, South Africa) lost a close critical match against Aline Berkenbrock and Raquel Castro 9-7 in the top spot.
"I thought we had the doubles point closed out with our No. 1 team being up 40-15 at 7-6," said Brooks. "If we could have somehow found a way to get that point then all the momentum might have changed, which ultimately might have changed the entire outcome."
As singles got underway ETSU won first sets at No. 1 singles, by Stupak, and the No. 6 position by junior Andra Voinea (Brasov, Romania), however just when it looked like the Lady Bucs would take the momentum UNF stormed back winning first sets at the remaining four courts.
Victoria Krook was the first Lady Osprey player to close out singles play as the junior topped Kedzo at No. 4 6-1, 6-1.
Minutes later UNF extended its lead to three love after Danielle Day gave Jaime her first loss in conference play this season with a impressive 6-4, 6-2 victory on Court Three.
At the same time both UNF letterwinners picked up wins, Holtzhuasen and ETSU freshman Diana Navrostska (Kviv, Ukraine) briefly stayed alive in their contests by winning second sets at No. 2 and No. 5.
Needing to win its remaining matches Voinea - a Second-Team All-Conference selection - got ETSU on the board with a 3-6, 6-0, 6-2 win over Lauren Holton at the No. 6 slot.
However, before the Lady Bucs could gain anymore steam UNF freshman Melanie Aguirre rallied back securing the Lady Ospreys first trip to the NCAA Tournament as the Tournament MVP closed out Navrostska 4-6, 6-1, 6-2.
"It's just sad that we had the late match last night and couldn't get a better draw being the top seed, however that's tournament tennis," Brooks said. "That being said, we had a great season overall. I'm so proud of this group of girls. They have proven themselves both on and off the court. Yevgeniya leaves this program as one of the best that has ever played in a ETSU uniform and I know myself, and Travis (Sandlant), in addition to our the players, are going to truly miss her next season."
Despite Saturday's heartbreaking loss ETSU had an outstanding season. This past year the Lady Bucs won their fourth-ever A-Sun Regular Season Championships (10-0), while lone senior Yevgeniya Stupak closed out her unbelievable career in Johnson City as the school's all-time winningest player.
Attached below is the 2010 A-Sun All-Tournament Team, in addition to final match results from today's contest.
Melanie Aguirre, (MVP) North Florida
Aline Berkenbrock, North Florida
Unnati Purushotham, Stetson
Yevgeniya Stupak, ETSU
Andra Voinea, ETSU
No. 1 - Aline Berkenbrock (UNF) vs. Yevgeniya Stupak (ETSU) 2-6, 6-1, 5-6, unfinished
No. 2 - Raquel Castro (UNF) vs. Kelly Holtzhausen (ETSU) 3-6, 6-4, 5-4, unfinished
No. 3 - Danielle Day (UNF) def. Paula Jaime (ETSU) 6-4, 6-2
No. 4 - Victoria Krook (UNF) def. Karina Kedzo (ETSU) 6-1, 6-1
No. 5 - Melanie Aguirre (UNF) def. Diana Navrostska (ETSU) 6-4, 1-6, 6-2
No. 6 - Andra Voinea (ETSU) def. Lauren Holton (UNF) 3-6, 6-0, 6-2
No. 1 - No. 90 Berkenbrock/Castro (UNF) def. Stupak/Holtzhausen (ETSU) 9-7
No. 2 - Jaime/Kedzo (ETSU) def. Day/Aguirre (UNF) 8-4
No. 3 - Holton/Krook (UNF) def. Navrostska/Tara Sheets (ETSU) 8-0
For more information on the ETSU women's tennis team please visit www.ETSUBucs.com.