El Paso - For the second time in three days, one of the new Texas A&M-Corpus Christi women's tennis freshmen clinched the match late in the third set of the final match for the Islanders. This time it was Adrienne Kovacs left on the court tied at 3-3 and Kovacs prevailed as TAMUCC bested Arkansas State by a 4-3 final on Saturday at the El Paso Tennis Club.
"I'm really proud of this team and the way they are coming together," said Director of Tennis Steve Moore. "They have a real synergy and they compete together as a team very well."
The Islanders improve to 3-2 on the year while the Red Wolves move to 1-1 early in the season. ASU was coming off a 4-3 victory the day before against Southland member Sam Houston State.
The Islanders started the day by winning the doubles point by a 2-1 margin. Bianca Discordia and LeAnne Mascall won at No. 2 doubles by an 8-4 final while Doris Kuselj and Nadia Filmalter won 8-6 at the No. 3 position.
The Islanders won three-of-five singles matches on the day, sophomore Mirna Cicak won 6-3, 6-3 at the No. 1 position, freshman Kuselj won 6-4, 7-5 at No. 2 singles and another freshman, Kovacs, won at the No. 5 spot by a 6-2, 2-6, 7-5 final. Discordia lost No. 3 singles 6-2, 6-2, Mascall fell 6-4, 7-6 at No. 4 singles and Megan Harless lost a tough 7-6, 3-6, 6-2 match at the No. 6 position.
With the score knotted at 3-3, Kovacs staged a comeback in the third set to take the win for the Islanders. After splitting sets with the Red Wolves player, Kovacs trailed 5-4 in the third before taking three-straight games to clinch the victory.
"Wow, how about that for the second time in three days, we had a match deadlocked at 3-3 with a freshman on the court and the freshman rises up big," said Moore. "I give Adrienne a lot of credit for her poise and tenacity, she was down 5-4 in the third and made a heck of a comeback."
Kovacs, who has only been with the team for three weeks, is part of the Islanders top six lineup that features three freshmen and a sophomore. Another of those freshmen, Kuselj, is an undefeated 5-0 in her first five matches with the team.
"I honestly didn't expect that we would have two 3-3 matches with freshmen on the court but that says a lot about their maturity," said Moore. "The neat thing about a freshman that has to play right away is that you see a dramatic rate of improvement.
"I'm proud of our whole team but especially these three freshmen."
The Islanders team has played beyond their years this weekend, keeping every match close and pulling out two victories in pressure packed situations.
"It's great to see a young team gain confidence; you really can't help but be proud of them," said Moore. "There are mistakes but you see such a great rate of improvement and there is such an enthusiasm and energy."
The Islanders are back in action for their fourth match in four days on Sunday, taking on Central Arkansas in the first Southland Conference match of the season for both teams. The match will be played in Dallas and was moved up from Monday due to the threat of rain.