CORPUS CHRISTI – The Texas A&M – Corpus Christi women's tennis team posted a resounding 6-1 win over McNeese State on Saturday to improve to 13-4 overall and 6-3 in Southland Conference play. With the win, the Islanders have clinched their second straight winning season in league action.
"This was a great team victory for us today," Director of Tennis Steve Moore said. "We had one of the windiest days we've had this season, but we didn't let it distract us and we went after McNeese State. The wind is a variable that favors the mentally tougher and fitter player, and that is something we demand from our team. So in my opinion, it's always a positive because it's another element we can try to control better than our opponent. It basically turns the match into a chess match. From top to bottom, this was a strong performance – a match in which we were the favorite and took care of business from the start.
"To clinch another winning conference season is also special for us," he added. "This has been a landmark season for our women's tennis program and we clinched another benchmark today. We have two matches left, and we will continue to press toward the top of the league."
The Islanders got off to a quick start by sweeping the three doubles matches to take a 1-0 lead. Mirna Cicak/Doris Kuselj defeated Tea Tvrtkovic/Anastasia Surkova 8-2 for a victory at No. 1, and Chelsea Horan/Sandra Burges bested Lara Pujol/Marcella Castaldi 8-5 to clinch the doubles point for the home squad. Stefania Nicolae/Ashley Garza completed the sweep by defeating Andreea Nenu/Diana Pirciu 9-7 in the final doubles match.
In singles, it was Burges starting things for the Islanders with a straight-set victory over Surkova, 6-2, 6-1 at No. 3. Horan followed with a 6-1, 6-2 victory over Castaldi at No. 5 and Nicolae defeated Pirciu 6-3, 6-1 at No. 4 to clinch the match for the Islanders. Mia Matuszak won her first set 6-4 over Nenu at No. 6 and was tied 2-2 in the second set, when Moore made the decision that the junior should retire and not put unnecessary strain on her ankle, which is still recovering from an injury suffered two weeks ago.
"Mia fought like a warrior today on that ankle," Moore said. "It was a tough decision to pull her back, but it was the right decision."
Texas A&M – Corpus Christi finished off the match with wins at the top two spots. Kuselj took a 6-3, 6-4 win over Pujol at the No. 2 spot to improve to 7-8 on the season, then Cicak finished off the match with a 6-2, 7-5 win over Tvrtkovic at the No. 1 spot for her 12th victory of the year.
The Islanders return to action on Sunday, April 15, as they will play host to Lamar in the final home match of the 2012 season. The match is slated for an 11 a.m. start at the Thomas J. Henry Tennis Center, and the team will honor Cicak, who is playing in the final home event of her career, during the event.
"Mirna will go down as one of the key players in our program's history," Moore said. "She came in and was our number one player in singles and doubles from the day she arrived. She battled injuries throughout her career. She did it all with a toughness and an attitude that I love. And under her leadership, our program has reached impressive new heights. It will be a special day and an emotional day for our team and also for me, personally."
Tennis Match Results
McNeese State vs Texas A&M - Corpus Christi
Apr 14, 2012 at Corpus Christi, Texas
Texas A&M - Corpus Christi 6, McNeese State 1
1. Mirna Cicak (AMCC) def. Tea Tvrtkovic (MCN) 6-2, 7-5
2. Doris Kuselj (AMCC) def. Lara Pujol (MCN) 6-3, 6-4
3. Sandra Burges (AMCC) def. Anastasia Surkova (MCN) 6-2, 6-1
4. Stefania Nicolae (AMCC) def. Diana Pirciu (MCN) 6-3, 6-1
5. Chelsea Horan (AMCC) def. Marcella Castaldi (MCN) 6-1, 6-2
6. Andreea Nenu (MCN) def. Mia Matuszak (AMCC) 4-6, 2-2, retired
1. Mirna Cicak/Doris Kuselj (AMCC) def. Tea Tvrtkovic/Anastasia Surkova (MCN) 8-2
2. Chelsea Horan/Sandra Burges (AMCC) def. Lara Pujol/Marcella Castaldi (MCN) 8-5
3. Stefania Nicolae/Ashley Garza (AMCC) def. Andreea Nenu/Diana Pirciu (MCN) 9-7
McNeese State 3-15, 1-9 SLC
Texas A&M - Corpus Christi 13-4, 6-3 SLC
Order of finish: Doubles (1,2,3); Singles (3,5,4,6,2,1)