NATCHITOCHES, La. – The Texas A&M - Corpus Christi women's tennis team battled the reigning Southland Conference Champions in a hard fought four-and-a-half hour competitive match today at the Jack Fisher Lady Demon Complex. In a rematch of last season's Southland Conference Championship match, the Islanders (6-4, 0-1 SLC) went neck-and-neck with the Lady Demons before falling 5-2. NSU (11-3, 4-0 SLC) battled back in No. 1 and No. 2 singles late in the match to clinch the win.
"This was a really great battle today and we competed very hard against Northwestern State," Director of Tennis Steve Moore said. "We certainty had our shots, but I'm proud of how hard these girls competed. We have built quite a tradition and rivalry with Northwestern State with these long, hard-fought matches and today was no different.
"Patric DuBois is a great coach. They have a great environment at home and compete very well on their home courts. I'm proud of our girls. They fought like warriors today. We have to keep getting better each week at some core things, but we will be just fine if we keep competing."
The Islanders and Lady Demons have a tradition of 4-3 close matches. Today it seemed to be going in that same direction. The match was tied at 2-2 with two singles matches in the third and one in a second-set tiebreaker before NSU garnered all three to win.
The Lady Demons jumped out to a 1-0 lead after securing the doubles point with wins on courts one and two. In No. 1 doubles, the senior-freshman duo of Stefania Nicolae and Kerry Galhos fell to Polina Konop and Tatiana Larina 8-2. The Islanders responded with an 8-4 victory in No. 3 doubles after the pair of Maider Martin and Celia Rodriguez downed Aliona Ladutska and Daniela Simonova 8-4. NSU claimed the point in the No. 2 slot after Natalya Krutova and Kateryna Piatakova handed the tandem of Sandra Burges and Judit Vives their first loss of the season, 8-2.
The Islanders rallied back in singles play to even the match at 2-2. After Rodriguez fell 6-1, 6-0 to Krutova in the No. 3 slot, the Islanders won two straight in No. 6 and No. 5 singles to knot the match. Galhos improved her singles record to 5-2 after cruising to a 6-1, 6-1 straight-set victory over Simonova in the No. 6 spot. Burges followed suit her sixth singles victory of the season in the No. 5 position. The senior topped Piatakova 6-3 in the first set before dropping a 6-3 second set. In the third, Burges garnered the 6-3 victory to tie the match.
The final matches came down to two three-setters and straight-set tiebreakers. In No. 1 singles, Nicolae battled Konop in three sets. The senior won the first set 6-4 before falling 6-4 in the second. In the third, Konop secured a 6-3 win for the Lady Demon's third point of the day.
Martin and Larina went back-and-forth in three sets in No. 2 singles. The sophomore came out strong in the first set to win 6-2, before Larina answered with a 6-1 second-set win, and a 6-4 win in the third to clinch the match.
In the No. 4 slot, Ladutska squeezed out two consecutive tiebreakers over Vives, 7-6 (4), 7-6 (2) to give NSU their fifth and final point of the day. The loss was Vives first of the year in singles play after starting her freshman campaign 6-0.
The Islanders will return to Nacogdoches, Texas on Monday, March 17, to resume the conference match with Stephen F. Austin at 11 a.m. The Islanders lead the match 3-2 after Burges, Rodriguez and Galhos all clinched their singles matches. Vives was battling Valeria Terentyeva in a third set when play was suspended. Vives fell short 7-6 (4) in the first set before responding with a 7-5 win in the second set. In the third, Vives was up 3-2 and it was 40-40 when play was stopped.
For all the latest on Islanders Tennis, like the team on Facebook (IslandersTennis) and follow them on Twitter and Instagram (@IslandersTennis).
Tennis Match Results
Texas A&M - Corpus Christi vs. Northwestern State
3/16/2014 at Natchitoches, La.
Northwestern State 5, Texas A&M - Corpus Christi 2
1. Polina Konop (NWLA) def. Stefania Nicolae (AMCC) 4-6, 6-4, 6-3
2. Tatiana Larina (NWLA) def. Maider Martin (AMCC) 2-6, 6-1, 6-4
3. Natalya Krutova (NWLA) def. Celia Rodriguez (AMCC) 6-1, 6-0
4. Aliona Ladutska (NWLA) def. Judit Vives (AMCC) 7-6 (7-4), 7-6 (7-2)
5. Sandra Burges (AMCC) def. Kateryna Piatakova (NWLA) 6-3, 3-6, 6-3
6. Kerry Galhos (AMCC) def. Daniela Simonova (NWLA) 6-1, 6-1
1. Polina Konop/Tatiana Larina (NWLA) def. Stefania Nicolae/Kerry Galhos (AMCC) 8-2
2. Natalya Krutova/Kateryna Piatakova (NWLA) def. Sandra Burges/Judit Vives (AMCC) 8-2
3. Maider Martin/Celia Rodriguez (AMCC) def. Aliona Ladutska/Daniela Simonova (NWLA) 8-4
Texas A&M - Corpus Christi 6-4, 0-1 SLC
Northwestern State 11-3, 4-0 SLC
Order of finish: Doubles (1,3,2); Singles (3,6,5,1,2,4)