HOUSTON – In a neutral site match played at the University of Houston, the Texas A&M - Corpus Christi women's tennis team rallied back after dropping the doubles point to clinch a thrilling 4-3 victory over New Mexico State today to improve to 6-2 on the year. The match featured several rain delays before senior Sandra Burges came back from a set down to win the next two and clinch the match for the Islanders.
"I'm incredibly proud of Sandra," Director of Tennis Steve Moore said. "It was only a month ago on the exact same courts that Sandra lost this exact same scenario to Southern Mississippi. Today she had the same exact circumstances, and she has learned and grown so much. She played like such a champion today and I'm so proud of Sandra for how much she has learned and grown. She was an incredible example today of how to play in the big moments. She has worked so hard and cares so much. I'm just so happy for her.
"This was a true team win. That took a lot of persistence and character from our team. This was a six-hour dual match with numerous rain delays, but I thought our girls did a very good job of managing the things they could control given the situation."
The Aggies (4-8) built an early lead after securing a tight doubles point. The freshman-senior duo of Burges and Judit Vives topped Denise Van Der Ben and Brittany Collens 8-2 in No. 2 doubles before New Mexico State answered with a pair of wins on courts one and three to capture the point. The Islanders pair of Stefania Nicolae and Kerry Galhos lost a close 8-6 match in the No. 1 slot to Susana Alcaraz and Chloe Joliff before the tandem of Maider Martin and Celia Rodriguez came up short 8-7 (5) in the tiebreaker to Annemieke Witte and Ashvarva Shrivastava in No. 3 doubles.
The Islanders quickly bounced back in singles play to take a 3-1 lead. Vives improved her perfect record in No. 6 singles to 6-0 after downing Mia Brandt 6-0, 6-1. Rodriguez kept things going with a straight-set victory in the No. 3 slot. The sophomore topped Joliff 6-1, 6-3 to move to 7-1 on the year. Martin then earned the Islanders their third point of the day in the No. 2 position with a 6-3, 6-1 win over Ben.
"Celia and Judit have absolutely been a rock for our team all year," Moore said. "I thought Maider played a very smart match today. These girls are really learning and improving each week."
New Mexico State answered back with wins on courts one and five to knot the match at 3-3. In No. 1 singles, Alcaraz defeated Nicolae 7-6 (4) in the first set before taking a 6-2 second set. Galhos dropped just her second match of the season in the No. 5 spot after falling in three sets to Collens, 0-6, 6-4, 6-2.
With the match even at 3-3, it all came down to No. 4 singles between Burges and Witte. The senior dropped the first set 6-1 before bouncing back to win 6-4 in the second. In the third, Burges clinched the set 6-2 and the match for the Islanders.
"I'm incredible grateful for Patrick Sullivan and the University of Houston for allowing us to play at their facility," Moore added.
The Islanders will return home to the Coastal Bend on Monday, March 10, to host Abilene Christian in their first Southland Conference match of the season.
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Tennis Match Results
Texas A&M - Corpus Christi vs. New Mexico State
3/2/2014 at Houston, Texas
Texas A&M - Corpus Christi 4, New Mexico State 3
1. Alcaraz,Susana (NMSU) def. Stefania Nicolae (AMCC) 7-6 (7-4), 6-2
2. Maider Martin (AMCC) def. Ben,Denise Van Der (NMSU) 6-3, 6-1
3. Celia Rodriguez (AMCC) def. Jolliff,Chloe (NMSU) 6-1, 6-3
4. Sandra Burges (AMCC) def. Witte,Annemieke (NMSU) 1-6, 6-4, 6-2
5. Collens,Brittany (NMSU) def. Kerry Galhos (AMCC) 0-6, 6-4, 6-2
6. Judit Vives (AMCC) def. Brandt,Mia (NMSU) 6-0, 6-1
1. Alcaraz,Susana/Jolliff,Chloe (NMSU) def. Stefania Nicolae/Kerry Galhos (AMCC) 8-6
2. Sandra Burges/Judit Vives (AMCC) def. Ben,Denise Van Der/Collens,Brittany (NMSU) 8-2
3. Witte,Annemieke/Shrivastava,Ashvarya (NMSU) def. Maider Martin/Celia Rodriguez (AMCC) 8-7 (7-5)
Texas A&M - Corpus Christi 6-2
New Mexico State 4-8
Order of finish: Doubles (2,1,3); Singles (6,3,2,1,5,4)