DELAND, Fla. (April 2, 2009) -In battle between two of the top teams in the Atlantic Sun Conference the ETSU women's tennis fell in a tough road match at Stetson 4-3, Thursday at the Mandy Stoll Tennis Center in Deland, Fla. With the loss the Lady Bucs fall to 9-6 overall and now sits with a 6-1 mark in league play, while Stetson improves to 12-5 and 7-1 in the A-Sun.
Unlike both of its A-Sun matches over last weekend the Lady Bucs came out flat dropping all three doubles point, giving Stetson both the early momentum and a quick 1-0 lead.
As singles play open senior Tara Byrne (Johnson City) continued her hot play dropping Breanna Atkinson in straight sets 6-2, 6-2. The ETSU captain now sits at 100 career singles wins, only three shy of Masha Illina all-time school record mark.
With the match tied 1-1, Stetson responded in a big way winning both the No. 5 and No. 6 singles contests giving the Hatters a commanding 3-1 lead. Shannon Gunning dropped sophomore Tara Sheets (Gate City, Va.), 6-1, 6-3, while fellow underclassman Andra Voinea (Brasov, Romaina) fell to Jacqueline Faulk in straight sets 6-4, 6-3.
With their backs now against the wall and now sitting only one point away from defeat the Lady Bucs would not quit. After splitting the first two sets with Unnati Purushotham, freshman Karina Kedzo (Puerto Ordaz, Venezuela) found herself down 4-1 in the third set. After breaking Purushotham's serve twice the ETSU newcomer would rally in exciting fashion, winning the final frame 6-4 for the match. Unfortunately, the Lady Bucs the momentum wouldn't last long as junior Yevgeniya Stupak (Kyiv, Ukraine) fell for only the second all spring as Valentina Galbarini closed out a tough contest with the No. 123-ranked singles player in the land, 6-1, 2-6, 6-3.
With Stetson up 4-2 and the match now clintched only freshman Paula Jaime (Madrid, Spain) closed out the scoring, outlasting Katherine Nowicki, 6-1, 2-6 6-3.
"Today we came out slow and didn't have the intensity we need to in doubles," said head coach Steve Brooks. "When that happen it put more pressure on our girls as singles play opened and they didn't rally back like we need to early in the sets. We are a talented team and I was proud that we fought hard at the end, but we have to come out from the start and play that way for us to be successful."
ETSU will now have a quick turnaround as they take on A-Sun foe Florida Gulf Coast with a 1:00 p.m., match Saturday at the FGCU Tennis Complex in Fort Myers, Fla.
Attached above is the final results from today's match with Stetson. For more information of the ETSU women's tennis team please visit www.ETSUBucs.com.