Comeback Falls Just Short
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- After being swept in doubles
and losing all six singles first sets, the University of Arkansas women's
tennis team mounted a furious comeback that almost upset the Louisiana
State University Tigers.
"We really turned things around in the middle
of singles today," said head coach Michael Hegarty. "With Whitney about
to win our fourth second set, I felt we might just claim the match."
LSU took the doubles advantage, but Arkansas
had no intentions of just handing it to them. The doubles matches were
identical to the matchups of the team's regular season face-off, but the
Lady'Backs faired better in this outing than in their last match against
the Tigers on two of the three courts.
Seniors Megan Ferreira and Anna Dybicz got
a late start at Court 1 against Rocio Fantilli and Lauren Seaman, dropping
the first six games to their rival. The senior team captured two games
to send the score to 6-2, but the new found momentum was not enough to
fend of the Tigers, who quickly won the next two games to take the match,
On Court 3, Iliana Pacheco and Christian Kincannon
ran down every shot Amanda Mang and Daysi Espinal fired. The duo fought
point-for-point with the Tigers, leveling the score at one and three,
but ran out of ammunition against their feline foe. Mang and Espinal won
the next five games to capture the point for LSU, 8-3.
Action on Court 2 did not claim a winner,
but effort and enthusiasm was present in both teams. LSU controlled the
match early, leading 5-2, but a winner by Whitney Morton in the 8th game
halted the Tiger Offense. The Morton and teammate Melissa Cornett won
the next four of six games to close the gap to 6-7 when the match was
In singles, Ferreira played at the No. 3 court
against LSU's Marina Chiarelli. Despite her best efforts, Ferreira fell
to the hard-hitting Brazilian, 1-6, 0-6. Kincannon lost on the No. 6 court
to Esipnal, 0-6, 1-6.
Arkansas found light at the darkest hour of
their season. After losing all six first sets, four Lady Razorback players
clawed their way back to force a third set. All four of these second set
wins came with LSU leading, 3-0.
LSU took the first set from Pacheco, 6-0.
However, Iliana Pacheco fought back for the Lady'Backs in the second set,
leveling the score with a 6-2 win. The third set was all Fantilli, winning
6-2 to seal the deal for LSU.
Jessica Ferguson topped Dybicz easily in the
first set, 6-0, but Dybicz did not intend to end her senior year early,
coming back to even the score with a 6-4 win in the second set. Dybicz
was up 4-0 when play was suspended.
Ferreira played at the No. 3 court against
LSU's Marina Chiarelli. Despite her best efforts, Ferreira fell to the
hard-hitting Brazilian, 1-6, 0-6.
Cornett fell in the first set to Mang, 6-2,
but fought her way back to victory in the second set, 6-3. Cornett was
down 0-4 in the third set when play was suspended
At the No. 5 spot, Morton lost the first set
to Seaman, 4-6, but stayed deadlocked in the second with the quick sophomore,
tying the score two. Morton won the next game, which led to a 6-4 victory
in the second set. In the third set, Morton was up 5-4 when play was suspended.
"Full credit to LSU, they played extremely
hard." Hegarty said.
The loss likely ends the 2004 season. However,
the 69th ranked Lady'Backs are still holding out for an invite to the
64-team NCAA tournament beginning on May 14th.
"I would love to see our team get a crack
at the NCAAs. We are playing some of our best tennis right now. But if
this is it, this team has been a pleasure to work with. They have set
a solid foundation for the future and I thank them for that," said Hegarty.