CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas - The Texas A&M - Corpus Christi women's tennis team nearly pulled off an upset of defending Southland Conference Champion Northwestern State on Saturday afternoon, losing a hard-fought 4-3 match at the Corpus Christi Country Club. Down 3-0, the home team fought back to within 3-2 before the match was clinched by NSU.
"I am incredibly proud of how hard these girls fought," said Director of Tennis Steve Moore. "We tell them every day that we judge them on the things they can control, how hard they fight and how smart they play not on whether they win their match.
"They did an excellent job at the things they can control, we need to get better in a few areas, but I'm incredibly proud that we were down 3-0 and were able to fight back."
The Islanders are now 5-2 on the year with a 3-1 mark in Southland Conference play. The Lady Demons improved to 7-2 overall and are now 2-1 in league play.
"Give credit to Northwestern State, they are a very tough, well-coached team," said Moore. "They are the defending Southland Conference champion that went 11-0 in conference last year and returned every starter."
The day started out with doubles, as the host team lost the first match at No. 3 as LeAnne Mascall and Nadia Filmalter fell 8-4 to give NSU a 1-0 lead. Mirna Cicak and Sandra Burges evened the score with an 8-5 match at No. 1 doubles. The deciding match was No. 2 doubles as Doris Kuselj and Bianca Discordia jumped out to an early lead, but they were unable to hold on as they fell by an 8-5 final.
"This is about as close as it can get," said Moore. "We felt we could have won the doubles point after being up 5-2 at No. 2 doubles."
In singles, things looked bleak early on after Mia Matuszak lost 6-4, 6-4 at No. 6 singles and Discordia fell by a 6-1, 7-5 final at No. 3 singles.
The Islanders would not go away though, with Kuselj winning 6-4, 0-6, 7-5 at No. 2 and Cicak taking a 6-1, 7-5 win at No. 1 singles. Cicak was down 5-0 in the second set before rallying to win seven-straight games and make it a 3-2 score with two matches left.
Burges' match was the next to finish, as she rallied from down a set and forced a third set before taking a 6-1, 1-6, 6-3 loss at No. 4 that clinched the match for NSU. Nicolae was down 4-3 in the third set but came back to win 6-4 and take a 6-7 (5-7), 6-4, 6-4 win at No. 5 singles to complete the match.
"We took Northwestern State down to the wire today and our girls are getting better each week so I'm excited about how good this team can be in late April," said Moore. "We just have to stay focused, keep showing character and keep working hard on the core elements of this game.
"Incredible heart and toughness from Mirna, Doris and Stefania, but I was proud of the way all these girls fought."
Next up for the Islanders will be a 2 p.m. match on Tuesday against Prairie View A&M at the Corpus Christi Country Club.
Tennis Match Results
Northwestern State vs Texas A&M-Corpus Christi
3/11/2011 at Corpus Christi, Texas
Northwestern State 4, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi 3
1. Mirna Cicak (AMCC) def. Bazhanova, Olga (NWLA) 6-1, 7-5
2. Doris Kuselj (AMCC) def. Curukovic, Adna (NWLA) 6-4, 0-6, 7-5
3. Rubesova, Martina (NWLA) def. Bianca Discordia (AMCC) 6-1, 7-5
4. Nedorostova, Andrea (NWLA) def. Sandra Burges (AMCC) 6-1, 1-6, 6-3
5. Stefania Nicolae (AMCC) def. Lange, Kathrin (NWLA) 6-7 (5-7), 6-4, 6-4
6. Schulz, Bianca (NWLA) def. Mia Matuszak (AMCC) 6-4, 6-4
1. Mirna Cicak/Sandra Burges (AMCC) def. Bazhanova, Olga/Curukovic, Adna (NWLA) 8-5
2. Nedorostova, Andrea/Rubesova, Martina (NWLA) def. Doris Kuselj/Bianca Discordia (AMCC) 8-5
3. Lange, Kathrin/Schulz, Bianca (NWLA) def. LeAnne Mascall/Nadia Filmalter (AMCC) 8-4
Northwestern State 7-2, 2-1 Southland
Texas A&M-Corpus Christi 5-2, 3-1 Southland
Order of finish: Doubles (3,1,2); Singles (6,3,2,1,4,5)