CORPUS CHRISTI – The Texas A&M – Corpus Christi women's tennis team earned a momentous, 4-3 victory over Lamar on Sunday at the Thomas J. Henry Tennis Center. Stefania Nicolae clinched the match, which was sponsored by Corpus Christi Crossfit, with a 9-7 win in the second-set tiebreak at No. 3. The Islanders improved to 13-3 and 5-2 in conference action, while Lamar is now 9-8 with a matching 5-2 Southland record.
"I couldn't be prouder of the way our team fought back today," Director of Tennis Steve Moore said. "We put yesterday's setback behind us, stayed in the present and fought hard on every point, and because of that we were able to post a well-earned victory over a very tough Lamar team. Even in our losses, everyone showed the toughness and the character that is the identity of Islanders Tennis. Your character is defined by how you respond after your tough losses, and there's no team in the nation that has character than these girls.
"I would also be remiss if I didn't mention the generosity of the Gossett Family and Corpus Christi Crossfit for going the extra mile to help us by sponsoring today's match," Moore added. "Islanders Tennis grows so much each day because of the support of our donors, and it humbles me to know that such amazing people are willing to have their names associated with our program."
The Islanders clinched the doubles point by sweeping all three matches. The duo of Sandra Burges/Chelsea Horan started things at No. 2 with an 8-4 victory over Carolina Maso/Alicia Porte, and then Maider Martin/Mia Matuszak followed suit by winning by an identical score at No. 3 to knock off Natalia Mayagoitia/Dariya Dashutina and clinch the doubles point. The No. 1 doubles match went to tiebreak at 7-7, and Doris Kuselj/Nicolae earned the win via a 7-2 score over Carolina Salas/Helene Czudek.
"We really set the tone with our doubles today," Moore said. "I was so proud of all three pairs, but Doris and Stefania showed just how tough they are to come from behind and earn a victory when pride was the only thing on the line. Our players determined right away that they weren't going to have a repeat of yesterday, and that mentality was what carried us to this win."
Martin was the first to put a victory in the books in singles, as she battled to a straight-set, 6-4, 7-5 win over Maso at No. 2 to make it 2-0 in favor of Texas A&M – Corpus Christi. Several matches came right down to the wire with that score in tact, as Burges posted a 6-2, 7-5 win over Mayagoitia at No. 4 just as Kuselj came up just short at No. 1, with Salas taking a 6-7 (4-7), 6-2, 7-5 win that made it 3-1 in favor of the Islanders.
Nicolae appeared to have the match won at No. 3, serving while up 5-4 in the second after taking a 6-2 victory in the first. But Dashutina battled back to take a 6-5 lead after winning consecutive games and sending the match to the verge of the third set. Nicolae was undaunted, though, rallying to take the next game and send it to a tiebreak. The junior had Dashutina on the ropes on several occasions, finally emerging triumphant with a 9-7 win to clinch the match for the home team.
At No. 6, Leanne Mascall battled back to force a third set supertiebreak, winning the second set 7-6 (7-2) after falling 6-4 in the first. But Helene Czudek was able to prevail 10-7 in the third to take the match for Lamar.
At No. 5, Celia Rodriguez was on the wrong end of a 6-4 score in the first, but took control with a 6-1 win in the second. In the third, though, Mayagoitia battled back to send it to tiebreak, where she prevailed 7-2. It marked Rodriguez' first defeat of the season.
The Islanders are back in action on Tuesday, as they head to Beaumont for a neutral-site matchup with Nicholls as conference play continues. The match is slated for a 1 p.m. start. Updates will be provided as they become available on Twitter (@IslandersTennis).
Tennis Match Results
Lamar vs Texas A&M - Corpus Christi
4/7/2013 at Corpus Christi, TX
Texas A&M - Corpus Christi 4, Lamar 3
1. Carolina Salas (LU) def. Doris Kuselj (AMCC) 6-7 (4-7), 6-2, 7-5
2. Maider Martin (AMCC) def. Carolina Maso (LU) 6-4, 7-5
3. Stefania Nicolae (AMCC) def. Dariya Dashutina (LU) 6-1, 7-6 (9-7)
4. Sandra Burges (AMCC) def. Alessandra Pennesi (LU) 6-2, 7-5
5. Natalia Mayagoitia (LU) def. Celia Rodriguez (AMCC) 6-4, 1-6, 7-6 (7-2)
6. Helene Czudek (LU) def. Leanne Mascall (AMCC) 6-4, 6-7 (2-7), 10-7
1. Doris Kuselj/Stefania Nicolae (AMCC) def. Carolina Salas/Helene Czudek (LU) 8-7 (7-2)
2. Sandra Burges/Chelsea Horan (AMCC) def. Carolina Maso/Alicia Porte (LU) 8-4
3. Maider Martin/Mia Matuszak (AMCC) def. Natalia Mayagoitia/Dariya Dashutina (LU) 8-4
Lamar 9-8, 5-2 SLC
Texas A&M - Corpus Christi 13-3, 5-2 SLC
Order of finish: Doubles (2,3,1); Singles (2,4,1,3,6,5)