BEAUMONT, Texas – The Texas A&M – Corpus Christi Women's Tennis team earned a big 4-0 win on Friday, sweeping the McNeese State Cowgirls to avenge a regular-season loss and move into the semifinals of the Southland Conference Tournament for the second straight year.
The Islanders (16-3) grabbed the doubles point and never looked back, winning at No. 2, 3 and 4 singles for the 4-0 final. McNeese State (13-8) finished their season with their first Southland Conference appearance since the 2005 season.
"This was a very determined group," said Director of Tennis Steve Moore. "I'm very proud of the hard work they've put in over the last couple of weeks. They really added some key elements to their game that made a big difference today."
In doubles, Doris Kuselj and Stefania Nicolae were the first win out of the gate, earning a convincing 8-1 win at the No. 1 position. Mia Matuszak and Maider Martin kept their unbeaten run against Southland competition alive, improving 10-0 against league competition with an 8-2 final No. 3 doubles. Sandra Burges and Chelsea Horan led 7-5 at No. 2 when the point was clinched.
Things started out quickly for the Islanders in singles as well, with the team earning the first set in four of the six matches, and dragging out tough first sets at No. 1 and 6.
The first match to clinch was Nicolae at No. 3, with the junior winning in straight sets by a 6-3, 6-0 final to make it 2-0. The final two wins came quickly after, with Burges winning 6-0, 6-2 at No. 4, and just minutes later Martin finishing it with a 6-2, 6-3 final at No. 2 singles. Celia Rodriguez Delgado was leading her match 6-0, 5-4 at No. 5 when play stopped as the Islanders had another potential point go unfinished.
"I'm proud of the way they rose up and fought, their intensity today was awesome," said Moore. "I think this group is as hard-working a group as any team I've ever coached, and they've earned the right to be confident."
Even in the first sets that Texas A&M – Corpus Christi lost, the seniors playing in those matches fought until the very end of each one. Kuselj fought point-for-point against the Southland Conference Player of the Year Klaudia Gawlik, falling 7-6 (7-5) in the first set, and was a game point away from tying it at 3-3 in the second when play was stopped.
Matuszak also hung tough at No. 6 singles, getting down 5-0 before rallying for four straight games before eventually suffering a 6-4 loss in the first. The two players were tied 1-1 in the second set when the match was clinched.
"The grit and determination of those girls is awesome," said Moore. "They were not going to go away easily. They're seniors, and they have so much pride. Someone is going to have to play great to beat them."
Next up for the Islanders will be a semifinal match against Sam Houston State/Lamar at 2 p.m. on Saturday. The matches will follow the first round of the tournament on the men's side. The Islander Men's team will face Lamar in the semifinals of their tournament at 10 a.m. on Saturday morning.
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Tennis Match Results
McNeese State vs Texas A&M - Corpus Christi
04/26/13 at Beaumont, Texas
Texas A&M - Corpus Christi 4, McNeese State 0
1. Doris Kuselj (AMCC) vs. Klaudia Gawlik (MCN) 6-7 (5-7), 2-3, unfinished
2. Maider Martin (AMCC) def. Lara Pujol (MCN) 6-2, 6-3
3. Stefania Nicolae (AMCC) def. Anastasia Surkova (MCN) 6-3, 6-0
4. Sandra Burges (AMCC) def. Andreea Nenu (MCN) 6-0, 6-2
5. Celia Rodriguez (AMCC) vs. Annabelle Peacock (MCN) 6-0, 5-4, unfinished
6. Mia Matuszak (AMCC) vs. Diana Pirciu (MCN) 4-6, 1-1, unfinished
1. Doris Kuselj/Stefania Nicolae (AMCC) def. Lara Pujol/Anastasia Surkova (MCN) 8-1
2. Sandra Burges/Chelsea Horan (AMCC) vs. Klaudia Gawlik/Andreea Nenu (MCN) 7-5, unfinished
3. Mia Matuszak/Maider Martin (AMCC) def. Diana Pirciu/Annabelle Peacock (MCN) 8-2
McNeese State 13-8
Texas A&M - Corpus Christi 16-3
Order of finish: Doubles (1,3); Singles (3,4,2)