CORPUS CHRISTI – Diana Pirciu earned a clutch come-from-behind victory at the No. 5 singles position as McNeese State rallied past the Texas A&M – Corpus Christi women's tennis team 5-2 on Saturday at the Thomas J. Henry Tennis Center. The Cowgirls improved to 12-7 overall and 3-3 in the Southland, while the Islanders are now 12-3 and 4-2 in league play.
"Give a lot of credit to McNeese today," Director of Tennis Steve Moore said. "They came in and battled hard and fought through some adversity to get this win. Today, they were the better team.
"All year, we have stressed the importance of playing every single point with intensity, and that has led us to a lot of success," Moore added. "Today, we let off the gas a couple times, and it really cost us. We had a great opportunity to take the doubles point and got off to a slow start in a couple of singles matches, and that wound up being the difference."
The Islanders saw well over 100 fans come through the turnstiles on National Student-Athlete Day, on what was a beautiful day for tennis in Corpus Christi.
"I can't stress enough how impressive our fans are," Moore said. "College tennis is all about momentum and they really lift us up in the tough times. I'm disappointed we couldn't get a better result for our fans."
The Cowgirls gained the momentum early by clinching the doubles point thanks to victories at No. 1 and No. 2. In No. 3 doubles, Maider Martin/Mia Matuszak dispatched Pirciu/Annabelle Peacock 8-1 to give the Islanders the first match. But McNeese rallied back with an 8-5 win by Lara Pujol/Anastasia Surkova over Doris Kuselj/Stefania Nicolae to bring the doubles even. No. 2 proved a nailbiter, as the teams repeatedly exchanged breaks to an 8-8 tie, but Klaudia Gawlik/Andreea Nenu won the tiebreak 7-2 over Sandra Burges/Chelsea Horan to put the home squad on top in the match 1-0.
The Islanders got a point back quickly in singles, as Nicolae rolled to a 6-0, 6-0 win over Nenu to knot the match score 1-1. MSU continued the seesaw with a 6-1, 6-1 win at No. 1, as Gawlik knocked off Kuselj to make it 2-1. A&M – Corpus Christi got a clutch performance by newcomer Celia Rodriguez at No. 6, as she knocked off Peacock 6-1, 6-3 to make it 2-2 in the match overall.
McNeese pushed the Islanders to the brink when Martin was toppled 7-5, 6-3 at No. 2 by Pujol, garnering a 3-2 lead. The Cowgirls then clinched the match when Pirciu rallied from behind to knock off Horan at No. 5 (1-6, 6-3, 6-1) in three sets to make it 4-2. At No. 3, Surkova fought off a furious charge from Burges to take the second set 7-5,
The Islanders are back in action on Sunday, as they play host to Lamar in yet another Southland Conference battle. The match is slated to start at 1 p.m. at the Henry Tennis Center, with admission free to all spectators. For those unable to make it out to the match, live updates will be provided on the official Twitter feed of Islanders Tennis, @IslandersTennis.
Tennis Match Results
McNeese State vs Texas A&M - Corpus Christi
4/6/2013 at Corpus Christi, TX
McNeese State 5, Texas A&M - Corpus Christi 2
1. Klaudia Gawlik (MCN) def. Doris Kuselj (AMCC) 6-1, 6-1
2. Lara Pujol (MCN) def. Maider Martin (AMCC) 7-5, 6-3
3. Anastasia Surkova (MCN) def. Sandra Burges (AMCC) 3-6, 7-5, 6-4
4. Stefania Nicolae (AMCC) def. Andreea Nenu (MCN) 6-0, 6-0
5. Diana Pirciu (MCN) def. Chelsea Horan (AMCC) 1-6, 6-3, 6-1
6. Celia Rodriguez (AMCC) def. Annabelle Peacock (MCN) 6-1, 6-3
1. Lara Pujol/Anastasia Surkova (MCN) def. Doris Kuselj/Stefania Nicolae (AMCC) 8-5
2. Klaudia Gawlik/Andreea Nenu (MCN) def. Sandra Burges/Chelsea Horan (AMCC) 9-8 (7-2)
3. Maider Martin/Mia Matuszak (AMCC) def. Diana Pirciu/Annabelle Peacock (MCN) 8-1
McNeese State 12-7, 3-3 SLC
Texas A&M - Corpus Christi 12-3, 4-2 SLC
Order of finish: Doubles (3,1,2); Singles (4,1,6,2,5,3)