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Bucs rally through singles after dropping doubles to clinch another finals trip
JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (April 21, 2012) – Senior Marine Wieliczko (Rouen, France) clinched the No. 2-seeded ETSU women’s tennis team’s spot in the 2012 Atlantic Sun Championship title match, as the Buccaneers shot down FGCU 4-1 on Saturday in the semifinals at Milligan College.
ETSU (12-8, 7-2 A-Sun) will enter its seventh-consecutive title match, where the Buccaneers are 3-3 over the last six years. The defending A-Sun champions will go up against No. 1 seed North Florida for the trophy and a trip to the 2012 NCAA Tournament after the Ospreys withstood a furious rally from No. 4 Stetson in the other semifinal, 4-2.
Florida Gulf Coast (10-11, 6-3 A-Sun) will conclude its historic season in which it won its first-ever postseason match since joining the A-Sun Conference. The Eagles defeated a stubborn No. 6 Jacksonville squad on Friday, 4-2, in the quarterfinals.
“Today showed the amount of character we have as a team,” ETSU assistant coach Travis Sandlant said. “We had no momentum coming out of doubles, but the team bounced back and proved they can handle the pressure in singles.”
Being forced to play at Milligan because of the threat of inclement weather, the Buccaneers took a while to find their bearings. Although seniors Paula Jaime (Madrid, Spain) and Wieliczko won handily 8-2 at No. 1, FGCU took the No. 2 and No. 3 doubles matches to earn their first point all year against the ETSU squad which swept them, 7-0, during the regular season. Gyanna Mandic and Jen Evans defeated senior duo Diana Navrostska (Lviv, Ukraine) and Karina Kedzo (Puerto Ordaz, Venezuela) 8-5, while Bettina Botha and Sarah Means decided the point on court three with a tight 9-7 clincher against Jessica Brumit (Elizabethton, Tenn.) and Giulia Andreazza (Balneario Camboriu, Brazil).
The Buccaneers turned all that around in singles, winning the first set in five of the six matches to seemingly take control of a match in which they were down 1-0.
Brumit – a 2012 A-Sun All-Freshman Team selection – finally put the Bucs on the board with a 6-3, 6-0 defeat of Diez in the No. 6 match, and First Team All-Atlantic Sun member Andreazza gave ETSU a lead it would never relinquish by defeating Bechtel at No. 2, 7-5, 6-0.
Kedzo added to the ETSU advantage with her 71st career victory, downing Evans 6-4, 6-3 and pushing the Bucs even closer to a spot in the finals. The deed got done at No. 3 after Wieliczko finished off Botha 7-5, 6-2.
Navrostska and Jaime came off the courts following the clinching point, with Navrostska up on Mandic 7-6 (7-4), 4-3, and Jaime in the midst of a comeback against Means 4-6, 6-2, 3-0.
No. 2 ETSU will battle No. 1 North Florida for the 2012 Atlantic Sun Championship on Sunday at 1 p.m. from the Buddy Hartsell Tennis Center.
“We are expecting nothing but a tough match against UNF,” Sandlant said. “[North Florida] deserves to be in the final after a solid year. We are defending our title and looking forward to the challenge on our home court. I’m hoping our wonderful fans will continue their great support and help push this team and send all our seniors out with another conference title.”
For more information on ETSU women’s tennis, please visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the women’s tennis links.