CORPUS CHRISTI – The Texas A&M – Corpus Christi women's tennis team posted an impressive 6-1 victory over Lamar on Sunday at the Thomas J. Henry Tennis Center. It was the Islanders' first-ever victory over the Cardinals, who are perennially at the top of the league, in program history. A&M – Corpus Christi improved to 14-4 and 7-3 in Southland play with the victory.
"What a tremendous win for our team," Director of Tennis Steve Moore said. "With all the injuries we've been battling, these girls have shown a ton of courage. They've really chosen the character road of no excuses, stick together and just fight till the end, win or lose. We have a lot of respect for Lamar – they are always one of the hardest competing and well-coached teams in the league, so I'm extra proud of the way our girls fought at home today."
The match was also Senior Day, as the Islanders paid tribute to their lone senior, Mirna Cicak, playing in her final home event as an Islander.
"Mirna Cicak has simply been one of the most amazing student-athletes I've ever coached," Moore said. "I've never seen someone pour so much heart and soul into every aspect of the team. This girl has had the most wins in school history after overcoming two knee surgeries and one hand surgery. Resiliency, toughness and character – that's Mirna."
With the win, the Islanders wrapped up their first season at the beautiful new Thomas J. Henry Tennis Center.
"This is our last home match of the year and I'd really like to thank the Corpus Christi tennis community and all our fans from the university," Moore said. "We've now had over 100 people come out to support our teams at every home match in our debut season at the Thomas J. Henry Tennis Center. The way the crowd lifts up our teams, I can't even begin to describe. We enjoy a home-court advantage like no other team and this has been an electric environment. It makes us want to work even harder to give these fans the best product we can."
The Islanders got out to a fast start with a sweep of the doubles competition. At No. 3, Stefania Nicolae/Ashley Garza got things rolling with an 8-3 win over Helene Czudek/Carolina Maso. The No. 2 doubles pairing of Sandra Burges/Chelsea Horan got an early break and carried that to an 8-6 win over Natalia Mayagoitia/Alessandra Pennesi. In the No. 1 doubles match, Cicak/Doris Kuselj fell behind 4-1, but clawed their way back to down 6-5, then won the final three games over Carolina Salas/Alicia Porte for an 8-6 victory.
In singles competition, Burges and Horan quickly put the Islanders up 3-0. Burges dominated Maso, 6-1, 6-0 at No. 3 to register the Islanders' second team point of the match. She improved to 13-3 on the season, including a 7-0 mark at the No. 3 position and an 8-2 Southland Conference slate. At No. 5, Horan posted a 6-0, 6-2 victory over Pennesi to improve to 14-3 on the season and 8-2 in league action, as the home team pulled ahead 3-0.
Kuselj then sealed the match at No. 2 singles, as she fought her way to a 6-4, 6-4 victory over Porte to give the Islanders a 4-0 lead. The junior, battling a shoulder injury, has served underhand for the last several weeks, but has fought her way to an 8-8 overall record and a 4-6 conference mark.
The remaining three singles matches all went to supertiebreak. Mia Matuszak, fighting through an ankle injury suffered two weeks ago, took a victory at No. 6, winning 6-3, 0-6, 10-4 over Czudek to put A&M – Corpus Christi up 5-0. At No. 4, Nicolae posted a 6-4, 5-7, 10-7 win over Mayagoitia to push the Islanders' edge to 6-0 and improve her season record to 13-5.
The lone setback of the day came at No. 1 singles, where Cicak battled from a deep deficit to Salas to take the first set in tiebreak, 7-6. But Salas roared back with a 6-3 win in the second set, then won the supertiebreak 10-4 to secure a three-set victory.
The Islanders will take on Nicholls in their final match of the season on Wednesday, April 18, at noon in Beaumont, Texas. A&M – Corpus Christi would clinch its best season in conference history with a victory in that match. For all the latest on Islanders Tennis, be sure to follow the team on Twitter @IslandersTennis.
Tennis Match Results
Lamar University vs Texas A&M - Corpus Christi
Apr 15, 2012 at Corpus Christi, Texas
Texas A&M - Corpus Christi 6, Lamar University 1
1. Carolina Salas (LU) def. Mirna Cicak (AMCC) 6-7, 6-3, 10-4
2. Doris Kuselj (AMCC) def. Alicia Porte (LU) 6-4, 6-4
3. Sandra Burges (AMCC) def. Carolina Maso (LU) 6-1, 6-0
4. Stefania Nicolae (AMCC) def. Natalia Mayagoitia (LU) 6-4, 5-7, 10-7
5. Chelsea Horan (AMCC) def. Alessandra Pennesi (LU) 6-0, 6-2
6. Mia Matuszak (AMCC) def. Helene Czudek (LU) 6-3, 0-6, 10-4
1. Mirna Cicak/Doris Kuselj (AMCC) def. Carolina Salas/Alicia Porte (LU) 8-6
2. Sandra Burges/Chelsea Horan (AMCC) def. Natalia Mayagoitia/Alessandra Pennesi (LU) 8-6
3. Stefania Nicolae/Ashley Garza (AMCC) def. Helene Czudek/Carolina Maso (LU) 8-3
Lamar University 12-9, 7-4 SLC
Texas A&M - Corpus Christi 14-4, 7-3 SLC
Order of finish: Doubles (3,2,1); Singles (3,5,2,6,4,1)