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SCSU Women Fall to UNC in NCAA Tennis, Bulldogs to Face UNC Saturday

May 12, 2006

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – The South Carolina State women’s tennis team dropped a 4-0 decision to host North Carolina-Chapel Hill in first-round action of the NCAA Tennis Championship at Cone-Kenfield Tennis Center.

The Lady Bulldogs, who were making their second straight trip to the prestigious tournament, ended their season at 19-3. The postseason match was the first-ever meeting between SCSU and the eighth-ranked Tar Heels (25-6), who will meet Wake Forest in second-round action Saturday.

The SCSU men will also be in action Saturday, as the Bulldogs will face the host and nationally-ranked UNC-CH men at 9 a.m. in opening-round action.

Despite the 4-0 margin by the UNC-CH women Friday, the match was more competitive than the final score, according to SCSU head Coach Hardeep Judge, who had to juggle his lineup when junior Milana Borisev did not make the trip.

UNC-CH went ahead 1-0 after grabbing the doubles point when Sara Anundsen and Jenna Long def. SCSU number one team of Mirian Cruz and Marcela Rodezno 8-1, and Caitlin Collins and Tanja Markovic won by an identical score of 8-1 over at number two doubles over Gisel Brito and Yana Lytkina, subbing for Borisev. The match between the Lady Bulldogs’ Alexis Panton and Vesna Popac and the Tar Heels Austin Smith and Meg Fanjoy was suspended with UNC-CH ahead 6-3.

In singles, the Tar Heels earned victories at the number one position from Long 6-0, 6-1 over Cruz; at number two, Collins 6-2, 6-0 over Rodezno; and at number six, Markovic 6-1, 6-1 over Alexis Panton, who was moved into the lineup due to the absence of Borisev, to build a insurmountable 4-0 advantage. It was Collins’ win that gave the host the clincher

The other three singles matches were suspended with UNC-CH leading in all three. The Tar Heel’s Anundsen was leading SCSU’s Popac 6-1, 2-1; Smith was ahead of Brito 6-1, 5-3; and in the closest match of the day, Laura Reichert led Lytkina 7-5.

SCSU came out flat and may have showed the effect of a two-week layoff. The Lady Bulldogs had not played since wrapping up their second straight Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference title last month.

“We played a very good, consistent team today,” said SCSU’s Judge. “We started flat and never seem to get going after that, and it may have been due to the two-week layoff.

“But North Carolina is a very strong team, nationally ranked,” he continued, “and you have to give them credit. We had a lot of ‘deuce’ games and the difference was that they played the key points a lot better than we did.

“Our players can hit with any of their players, but we have to do a better job of capitalizing on key opportunities. Sure, we lost 4-0 but the final score does not really tell the whole story. We will learn from this (experience).”

Cruz, who was 18-0 entering the post season, had the most opportunities. After being broken in the first game of the opening set by Long, and losing at love in the second, she twice was a point away from winning the third game, and took the fourth to deuce before falling 0-6.

In the first game of the second set, on her serve, she fought back from game point twice and had the advantage three times before losing the game that went to deuce six times. She dropped the second point but won the third to close the gap to 1-2, but Long earned two more breaks to win the set at love, and secure the match and point for UNC-CH.

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