THIBODAUX, La. – After trailing the whole match, the Texas A&M - Corpus Christi women's tennis team rallied back to squeeze past Nicholls, 4-3, to win their fifth straight Southland Conference match today. The Islanders (11-4, 5-1 SLC) dropped a tight doubles point to the Colonels (10-5, 4-2 SLC) before freshman Judit Vives clinched the match in No. 3 singles for the second straight day.
"Amazing grit and resiliency from these girls," Director of Tennis Steve Moore said. "They fought with all of their hearts and never gave up. I could not be prouder of this group.
"Nicholls is having a great season. This took us fighting as hard as we could and a lot of mental toughness to get this win today against a very tough team."
The Colonels, who were ranked as high as No. 72 in the ITA rankings, grabbed a tight doubles point with wins on courts one and three. The duo of Celia Rodriguez and Maider Martin notched an 8-6 victory in No. 2 doubles over Emma Kranendonk and Klara Skopac to win their fourth straight doubles match. The freshman-senior pair of Sandra Burges and Vives dropped an 8-7 (3) tiebreaker loss to Stephanie Barnett and Isla Brock in the No. 1 slot before Nicholls picked up the doubles point after Marie Aubert and Kateryna Nakonechna topped Stefania Nicolae and Kerry Galhos, 8-5, in No. 3 doubles.
"It was heartbreaking losing the doubles point, but I can't say enough about the courage and resiliency these girls showed," Moore said. "They were tired after a tough match yesterday and just rose up with all their hearts."
In singles play, Galhos downed Kranendonk, 6-1, 6-2, in the No. 6 slot to win her sixth consecutive singles match and 10th singles win of her career. Nicholls answered with consecutive wins on courts two and five to take a 3-1 lead. Martin fell in straight sets, 6-2, 6-0, to No. 102-ranked Barnett in the No. 2 spot before Burges dropped just her first conference match of the season, 6-1, 6-3 to Brock in No. 5 singles.
The Islanders however battled back to win three straight to clinch the match. Rodriguez garnered her fifth consecutive singles match after capturing a 6-1, 6-4 victory over Nakonechna in the No. 4 slot. The sophomore improved her singles record to 12-3 and 9-0 in No. 4 singles. Nicolae kept the momentum going with a big win at No. 1 singles. The senior topped Aubert 6-4 in the first set before taking a 6-3 second set to even the match at 3-3.
For the second straight match it came down to Vives at No. 3 singles. The freshman lost a close 7-6 (6) first set to Skopac before bouncing back to win 6-1 in the second set. In the third, the native of Barcelona, Spain, clinched the match 6-2 to lift the Islanders to a 4-3 victory. She now has won five straight singles matches and holds an impressive 11-1 record in singles play.
"Stefania Nicolae has just kept believing and her win at No. 1 singles was huge," Moore added. "Judit Vives clinched the match in front of her parents, 6-2, in the third and it was the second day in a row she clinched the match.
"The way these girls kept pushing each other and encouraging each other was awesome today. It's what team sports is all about and these girls are a true team."
The Islanders will host Prairie View A&M on Thursday, April 3, in a non-conference match at the Thomas J. Henry Tennis Center.
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. Nicholls
3/30/2014 at Thibodaux, La.
Texas A&M - Corpus Christi 4, Nicholls 3
1. Stefania Nicolae (AMCC) def. Marie Aubert (NICH) 6-4, 6-3
2. #102 Stephanie Barnett (NICH) def. Maider Martin (AMCC) 6-2, 6-0
3. Judit Vives (AMCC) def. Klara Skopac (NICH) 6-7 (6-8), 6-1, 6-2
4. Celia Rodriguez (AMCC) def. Kateryna Nakonechna (NICH) 6-1, 6-4
5. Isla Brock (NICH) def. Sandra Burges (AMCC) 6-1, 6-3
6. Kerry Galhos (AMCC) def. Emma Kranendonk (NICH) 6-1, 6-2
1. Stephanie Barnett/Isla Brock (NICH) def. Sandra Burges/Judit Vives (AMCC) 8-7 (7-3)
2. Celia Rodriguez/Maider Martin (AMCC) def. Emma Kranendonk/Klara Skopac (NICH) 8-6
3. Marie Aubert/Kateryna Nakonechna (NICH) def. Stefania Nicolae/Kerry Galhos (AMCC) 8-5
Texas A&M - Corpus Christi 11-4, 5-1
Nicholls 10-5, 4-2
Order of finish: Doubles (2,1,3); Singles (6,2,5,4,1,3)