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NEW ORLEANS, La. –  The top-seeded Alabama State women's team completed their undefeated season against conference opponents and topped it off with a championship bow on Sunday as the Lady Hornets rallied back to upend Jackson State 4-2 to win the 2017 SWAC Women’s Tennis Championship.  

The Alabama State tennis programs made it a sweep for the 2017 season as the top-seeded men’s team defeated No. 2 Jackson State 4-0 to claim the SWAC Men’s Tennis Tournament Championship.

Both Championships were held at the Pepsi Tennis Center.

The Lady Hornets, who went 8-0 during conference play in the regular season, swept fourth-seeded Alcorn State on Saturday in the semifinal round before finishing their title run on Sunday despite dropping the doubles point.alst swac wtn champ clay baileyAlabama State University
2017 SWAC Women's Tennis Champions
Clay Bailey photo

Trailing 2-0 after the Lady Tigers’ Dasha Butorina knocked off Marija Blazevic 6-3, 6-2 at the No. 6 singles position, the Lady Hornets had plenty of work to do.

Alabama State was able to rally back by succeeding in singles competition, winning at the No. 2 through No. 5 positions.

The win secured the Lady Hornets’ third championship in program history and first in 18 years dating back to the 1999 season.

SWAC Tournament MVP and senior Marine Cartier started up the rally by winning at the No. 2 spot by defeating Lucia Solis 6-1, 6-3.

It followed from there as senior Brankica Orlovic beat Oni Jones 6-2, 6-4 at the No. 3 position, freshman Mirna Curic defeated Ariel Dickson 6-3, 7-5 and sophomore Gabriela Lackova closed it out with a 6-4, 6-2 victory against Nina Zhang.

Jackson State took the initial advantage when SWAC Women’s Tennis Player of the Year Tyler Smith partnered with sophomore Lucia Solis to top Reka Szentes and Cartier 6-2.

Alabama State evened it up when the pair of Mirna Curcic and Lackova beat Zhang and Butorina 6-1.

But, JSU answered back to take the doubles point when Jones and Dickson got past Brankica Orlovic and Blazevic 6-3.

Three players from Alabama State made the All-Tournament Team highlighted by Cartier, who also was awarded the 2017 SWAC Women’s Tennis Most Valuable Player award after winning three matches in tourney play at the No. 2 singles and No. 2 doubles positions.

Lady Hornets teammates Lackova and Curcic also made the All-Tournament team after each winning three matches.  Lackova and Curcic partnered to win each of their matches at the No. 3 doubles spot with Lackova adding a win at the No. 4 singles position and Curcic picking up a victory at the No. 5 singles position.

The Lady Tigers had two representatives on the All-Tournament squad with Smith (No. 1 singles and No. 2 doubles positions) and Solis (No. 2 singles and No. 2 doubles positions) each earning three victories in their runners up finish.

Southern’s Rufaro Chirewa was the lone player to make the All-Tournament despite her team not reaching the final.  Chirewa picked up three victories at the No. 2 singles and the No. 2 doubles spots.

Alabama State head coach Anuk Christiansz won the 2017 Women’s Tennis Coach of the Year award after earning his second overall SWAC championship at the helm of the Hornets tennis programs (won the 2015 SWAC Men’s  Tennis Championship).

2017 SWAC Women’s Tennis All-Tournament Team

Marine Cartier Alabama State
Gabriela Lackova Alabama State
Mirna Curcic Alabama State
Tyler Smith Jackson State
Lucia Solis Jackson State
Rufaro Chirewa Southern
Most Valuable Player
Marine Cartier Alabama State
Coach of the Year
Anuk Christiansz Alabama State


Sunday's championship meeting pitted the prior two champions with Alabama State having taken home the title in 2015 and Jackson State winning last year in 2016.alst swac mentn champ clay baileyAlabama State University
2017 SWAC Men's Tennis Champions
Clay Bailey photo

The Hornets completed their perfect record against conference opponents this season by racking up a 6-0 record during the regular season before defeating No. 4 Prairie View A&M 4-0 on Saturday in the semifinals.

On Sunday, Alabama State finished it out by winning two of three matches in doubles competition and followed it up with victories at the No. 1 singles position from senior Takura Mlambo, the No. 3 position from junior Tomas Fernandez and from Carl-Louis Luckmann at the No. 4 position.

Mlambo defeated Joan Sanson 6-2, 6-1 at the No. 1 spot, Fernandez beat Fritz Jacobs 6-1, 6-1 at the No. 3 position and Luckmann outlasted Federico Mendieta 7-5, 6-3.  

In doubles play, Mlambo and Ion Efrim teamed up to defeat Ryan Swanier and Fritz Jacobs 6-2 at the No. 1 spot while Fernandez and Luckmann secured the doubles point with a 6-4 triumph over Vishu Prasad and Stylianos Gkontsaris.

ASU won its second title in the previous three seasons on the men’s side and third overall under head coach Anuk Christiansz, who guided the Lady Hornets women’s tennis to the championship earlier in the day.

Alabama State was awarded four selections on the SWAC All-Tournament Team with Fernandez, the No. 3 singles player, sporting a 3-0 record to earn both the tournament’s Most Valuable Player award and a spot on the All-Tournament team.

Fernandez was joined by teammates Carl-Louis Luckmann (3-0 at the No. 4 singles position and No. 3 doubles position), Szabin Pusztay (2-0 at the No. 6 singles position and the No. 2 doubles position), and Karlo Skvorc (2-0 at the No. 5 singles and No. 2 doubles).

Jackson State had one undefeated player who made the All-Tournament as Andrey Alawi (2-0 at the No. 2 singles and No. 2 doubles).

Alcorn State had two representatives on the All-Tournament Team with No. 1 singles player and SWAC Men’s Tennis Player of the Year Kert Kilumets and No. 3 player Nikita Kostikov each went 4-0 during tournament play.

2017 SWAC Men’s Tennis All-Tournament Team
Tomas Fernandez, Alabama State
Carl-Louis Luckmann, Alabama State
Szabin Pusztay, Alabama State
Karlo Skvorc, Alabama State
Andrey Alawi, Jackson State
Kert Kilumets, Alcorn State
Nikita Kostikov, Alcorn State

All-Tournament Most Valuable Player
Tomas Fernandez, Alabama State

Coach of the Year
Anuk Christiansz, Alabama State