Women's Tennis Team Pulls Off Big Upset
Courtesy: UNCW Athletic Communications
WILMINGTON, North Carolina - The UNCW women's tennis team overcame testy playing conditions and early deficits in singles to pull off the program's biggest upset with a 4-3 victory over No. 38 Georgia State Saturday at the UNCW Tennis Complex.
The Seahawks evened their record at 4-4 overall and moved to 2-1 in the Colonial Athletic Association with the key league victory. The Panthers, ranked 38th in the recent Intercollegiate Tennis Association rankings, suffered their second loss of the season and now stand 5-2 and 1-1.
"It's hard for me to express how big today's win was for us," said 12th-year UNCW head coach Jenny Garrity. "It was a complete team effort. We started off very strong in doubles, which was one of our goals going into the match. We wanted to play with a lot of energy and play offensively, and I thought we did a fantastic job of accomplishing that."
The teams split the first two matches off the courts in doubles before it came down to the No. 3 match to decide the early point. Sophomore Olga Blank and senior Casey Dashiell of UNCW then nipped Martina Ondrackova and Masa Grgan, 8-6, in the decisive set to give the Seahawks the early momentum.
"I was extremely impressed with Olga and Casey," added Garrity. "Georgia State kept coming back against them and they remained extremely poised. I was very proud of them for pulling that out."
GSU, with wins against two ranked opponents this spring, got off to a strong start in singles by winning the first set in four of the matches, but the Seahawks rallied to take three pairings to close out the match.
GSU sophomore Abigail Tere-Apisah, ranked 58th in singles, squared the match with a 6-4, 6-1, victory over Blank at No. 1 singles before freshman Alyssa Ritchie of UNCW put the Seahawks back on top with an easy 6-3, 6-2, decision over Grgan at No. 5 singles.
Whitney Byrd of GSU brought the match back even by cruising past sophomore Kelly Cameron, 6-3, 6-4, at No. 4 singles, but sophomore Angie Sekely of UNCW rallied for an 0-6, 6-3, 6-2, triumph against GSU's Maryna Kozachenko at the No. 3 position for a 3-2 advantage.
Christina Lee, a senior from Charlotte, N.C., who earned First-Team All-CAA honors last season, then clinched the match for the Seahawks by storming back to knock off Tereza Lerova, 1-6, 6-4, 7-6 (3), at No. 2 singles.
In the final singles match of the day, GSU's Chaimaa Roudami defeated Christina Riley, 6-3, 5-7, 6-1, at the No. 6 slot.
Garrity said: "It was a very special win because we lost the first set in several of the matches and our team kept believing that could do it and kept fighting for each other. Simply put, we won this match with our heart. It was the biggest win in our program's history, and I want to thank every player who has ever put on our uniform because they were a part of it."
"Our team has worked very hard for this moment and I thought we were very deserving of the win today. We played under pressure, kept fighting and never gave up. I would like to thank the Wilmington community for coming out as well as the families of the players for their support. And I want to especially thank the men's tennis team because they helped pull us through some close matches."
The Seahawks return to the courts on Tuesday with a 2 p.m. match at state rival Elon.