HUNTSVILLE, Texas – The Texas A&M – Corpus Christi Women's Tennis team picked up another hard-fought Southland Conference win on Tuesday afternoon, grinding out a 4-3 win over Sam Houston State at the McAdams Tennis Center in the final match of a six-day road trip against league opponents. All three matches in the road trip ended in 4-3 finals.
"Incredibly gutsy effort from these girls today," said Director of Tennis Steve Moore. "This was the third match of a very long three-match road trip. They were tired and beat up, but had such resolve and fought so hard today. I could not be more proud of them."
The Islanders (10-1, 3-1 Southland) responded with a gritty win over SHSU (4-8, 0-2 Southland) on the Bearkats home courts. The team bounced back from its first loss of the year with another tough match as Sandra Burges won the clinching third set in a tiebreaker at No. 3 singles to give her team the win. The team is now 26-6 in the last 32 matches.
"The match at Stephen F. Austin was such a hard loss to swallow," said Moore. "It was so important for these girls to make a statement about how they were going to respond after such a tough loss. They really paid the price physically today and showed incredible courage."
The Tuesday showdown was a matchup of Southland Conference Tournament semifinal teams from a year ago, with the Bearkats taking down Texas State to reach the semis, while the Islanders beat Northwestern State in the opening round.
As they had in all 10 matches before Tuesday, the Islanders won the doubles point to take an early lead. Doris Kuselj and Stefania Nicolae won 8-6 at No. 1 doubles to stay undefeated this year, while Burges and Chelsea Horan lost an 8-4 final at No. 2 to setup a deciding match at No. 3 doubles. It did not disappoint, as Maider Martin and Mia Matuszak earned a crucial win by a 9-8 (8-6) final to give their team the 1-0 advantage.
It would be the deciding factor in the match, as the teams split the singles matches at three apiece.
Kuselj earned a 6-1, 7-5 win at No. 1 singles, and Celia Rodriguez Delgado got a big 6-2, 6-3 win at the No. 6 position for Texas A&M – Corpus Christi. With the match tied at 3-3, Burges came up with the biggest win of the day to clinch the win for the Islanders.
"Sam Houston played a great match today at home," said Moore. "They never gave up and made us fight to the very end. They are a very good team, losing 4-3 to No. 25 TCU, and they also played a very inspired match today."
After dropping the first set by a wide margin, Burges battled back to take the second and won the third in tiebreak while fighting off three dual match points for a 1-6, 6-4, 7-6 (10-8) final that sent the Islanders to victory.
Martin lost a tough, three-set match at No. 2 by a 6-3, 1-6, 7-5 final, Horan came up short by a 6-0, 2-6, 7-5 margin at No. 5 singles and Nicolae fell 6-4, 6-4 at No. 4 in the remaining matches.
"I just love the character and toughness of our girls," said Moore. "Every girl fought until their tank was empty today and gave all they had. The Southland Conference is so tough this year, and every team is capable of beating any other team."
Next up for the women's team is a big test against nationally ranked Rice, the No. 29 ranked team in all of NCAA Division I. They travel to Houston for the March 19 match against the Owls, with a 3 p.m. start at the Jake Hess Tennis Stadium.
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Tennis Match Results
Texas A&M - Corpus Christi vs Sam Houston State
03/12/13 at Huntsville, Texas
#69 Texas A&M - Corpus Christi 4, Sam Houston State 3
1. Doris Kuselj (AMCC) def. Imke Jagau (SHSU) 6-1, 7-5
2. Sheridan Currie (SHSU) def. Maider Martin (AMCC) 6-3, 1-6, 7-5
3. Sandra Burges (AMCC) def. Tanya Postnikova (SHSU) 1-6, 6-4, 7-6 (10-8)
4. Natalie Petaia (SHSU) def. Stefania Nicolae (AMCC) 6-4, 6-4
5. Maddie Mortimore (SHSU) def. Chelsea Horan (AMCC) 6-2, 2-6, 7-5
6. Celia Rodriguez (AMCC) def. Nadia Dubyanskaya (SHSU) 6-2, 6-3
1. Doris Kuselj/Stefania Nicolae (AMCC) def. Nadia Dubyanskaya/Tanya Postnikova (SHSU) 8-6
2. Sheridan Currie/Natalie Petaia (SHSU) def. Sandra Burges/Chelsea Horan (AMCC) 8-4
3. Maider Martin/Mia Matuszak (AMCC) def. Maddie Mortimore/Kayla Stevenson (SHSU) 9-8 (8-6)
Texas A&M - Corpus Christi 10-1, 3-1 Southland; National ranking #69
Sam Houston State 4-8, 0-2 Southland
Order of finish: Doubles (2,1,3); Singles (1,4,6,2,5,3)