Bucs avenge regular-season loss, defeat Chattanooga to advance to SoCon final; ETSU to face top-seeded Samford in title match
CLEMSON, S.C. (April 25, 2015) - Less than one month ago, Chattanooga rallied from a 3-1 deficit to edge ETSU, 4-3, to hand the Buccaneers their only home setback of the season. Saturday, the Bucs avenged that loss by besting UTC, 4-2, to advance to the title match of the Southern Conference Women's Tennis Championship.
The third-seeded Bucs (15-5), winners of five consecutive matches, started Saturday's semifinal match strongly, capturing the doubles point with wins at the top two spots.
No. 2 UTC took a 1-0 lead in doubles play; however, ETSU responded, with Regina Nychytailova (Maripol, Ukraine) and Jessica Brumit (Elizabethon, Tenn.) winning, 8-5, at No. 2 to draw the doubles margin even.
Lyn Yee Choo (Kuching, Malaysia) and Ana Gerbasi (Caracas, Venezuela) then clinched the doubles point for the Bucs with an 8-6 victory at the top spot.
"We knew it was going to be a battle today," ETSU coach Travis Sandlant said. "UTC came to play. The doubles point was huge for our confidence going into singles."
The Bucs extended their match lead to 2-0 as Nychytailova cruised to a 6-0, 6-1 win at No. 2 Singles.
UTC's No. 1 player, Kayla Jones, then defeated Choo, 6-0, 6-4, to cut the Mocs' (18-4) deficit to 2-1.
Freshman Ioanna Markesini (Athens, Greece) gave the Bucs a 3-1 lead by pulling out a three-set win at No. 4 Singles, 1-6, 6-2, 6-2.
It was then that the match took an turn eerily similar to the Mocs' regular-season comeback versus ETSU.
With UTC trailing, 3-1, the Mocs' Kaylene Chadwell outlasted Gerbasi in a second-set tiebreaker, 7-6 (7-4), to extend the match, keeping UTC's hopes alive. Chadwell then closed out the match in three sets to cut UTC's deficit to 3-2.
However, Brumit, the Bucs' captain and lone senior, then rose to the occasion, defeating Claire Mulyadi, 7-5, 6-3, at No. 5 Singles to seal the 4-2 win for ETSU.
In UTC's regular-season win over ETSU, Brumit suffered a heartbreaking, three-set loss in the final match of the day, allowing UTC to take the 4-3 victory.
"It felt fitting that Jess [Brumit], our senior, stood up and clinched the match when in regular season she didn't get it done," Sandlant said. "It was great to see."
The Bucs have won nine of their last 11 matches.
With the victory, ETSU claimed a spot in the SoCon tournament's title match.
ETSU will take on top-seeded Samford Sunday, April 26 at 10:00 a.m., in Greenville, S.C., with an NCAA Tournament berth at stake.
Samford eged the Bucs, 4-3, in Birmingham, Ala., during the regular season. Samford and Chattanooga were the only teams to beat ETSU in league play this season.
Live stats links for Sunday's final can be found at the Southern Conference Tennis Championship Tournament Central here: http://bit.ly/1I8uCpI
ETSU 4, Chattanooga 2
1. Kayla Jones (UTC) def. Lyn Yee Choo (ETSU) 6-0, 6-4
2. Regina Nychytailova (ETSU) def. Kelsey Coots (UTC) 6-0, 6-1
3. Kaylene Chadwell (UTC) def. Ana Gerbasi (ETSU) 3-6, 7-6 (7-4), 6-4
4. Ioanna Markesini (ETSU) def. Samantha Caswell (UTC) 1-6, 6-2, 6-2
5. Jessica Brumit (ETSU) def. Claire Mulyadi (UTC) 7-5, 6-3
6. Melissa Esguerra (ETSU) vs. Alison Storie (UTC) 6-4, 4-3, unfinished
1. Lyn Yee Choo/Ana Gerbasi (ETSU) def. Kayla Jones/Samantha Caswell (UTC) 8-6
2. Regina Nychytailova/Jessica Brumit (ETSU) def. Kelsey Coots/Kaylene Chadwell (UTC) 8-5
3. Rachele Gazzola/Katie Polk (UTC) def. Ioanna Markesini/Melissa Esguerra (ETSU) 8-2
Order of finish: Doubles (3,2,1); Singles (2,1,4,3,5)
SoCon Women’s Tennis Championship
Sunday, April 26 - Greenville, S.C. (Furman University)
#3 ETSU vs. #1 Samford
For additional information on the Southern Conference Women's Tennis Championship, visit SoConSports.com by clicking here.
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