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Byrne sits only two wins away from all-time wins list
FORT MYERS, Fla. (April 4, 2009) - Needing to take care of its own business first to stay in the Atlantic Sun Conference regular season title hunt the ETSU (10-6, 7-1) women's tennis team did just that Saturday cruising past league rival Florida Gulf Coast 7-0, at the FGCU Tennis Complex in Fort Myers, Fla.
With the win the Lady Bucs now sit one match behind league-leading USC Upstate and Stetson. Both the Hatters and Spartans are scheduled to play each other late Saturday afternoon, while ETSU will take on Upstate Tuesday in Spartanburg, S.C. In order for ETSU to take the regular season crown, the Lady Bucs need Upstate to beat Stetson and then win early in the week in its meeting with the Spartans.
ETSU opened play sweeping the doubles point as junior Yevgenyia Stupak (Kyiv, Ukraine) and freshman Paula Jaime (Madrid, Spain) rolled past Eva Sambrano and Maggie Caulk 8-2, while senior Tara Byrne (Johnson City) and freshman Karina Kedzo (Puerto Ordaz, Venezuela) dropped Villemond and Evans 8-3 in No. 2 action. ETSU clinched the doubles point as sophomore Tara Sheets (Gate City, Va.) and senior Vita Moskaliova (Minsk, Belarus) closed out Leah Johnson and Joanne Power at No. 3 winning 8-1.
"We played a lot cleaner today in doubles," said head coach Steve Brooks. "It took a little bit of time for our girls to get use to playing in the Florida heat, but once we got adjusted we had strong performances. It helped that today we were able to sweep the points and finish the match just over two hours."
After falling for only the second time all spring Thursday, No. 109-ranked Stupak rebounded in a big way in No. 1 singles play, dropping Eva Sambrano 6-0, 6-0. Fellow captain Tara Byrne then extended the Lady Buc advantage dropping Priscilla Villemond, 6-4, 6-2 and now sits only two wins away from becoming the all-time wins leader at ETSU.
After ETSU found itself with a 3-0 lead, the Lady Bucs continued to roll as both newcomers Kedzo and Jaime looked strong in both of their singles contests. Kedzo made quick work of Jen Evans, 6-2, 6-2 in No. 3 singles play, while Jaime dominated in her head-to-head match dropping Leah Johnson in straight sets 6-4, 6-0.
In its last two matches of the day ETSU wouldn't let up as Tara Sheets ran her singles mark to 8-5 this season defeating Brittany Wadsworth 6-0, 6-2, while Vita Moskaliova rolled through Joanne Power with indicial 6-1 set wins for her third singles victory.
"Overall I'm pleased with how the girls played today," said Brooks. "I thought in singles play from top-to-bottom, we played solid and really forced our style of play. For example in Yevgenyia's match at No. 1, she only gave up around 13 points. Gulf Coast is a rising team in this league so I was proud to see our team bounce back in such a positive way after Thursday's loss to Stetson."
For more information on the ETSU men's tennis team please visit www.ETSUBucs.com.