Friday, April 19, 2013
BRISTOL, Tenn. – An epic six-hour marathon between No. 3 seed USC Upstate and No. 6 Kennesaw State decided who would advance to the Atlantic Sun Women’s Tennis Championship semifinals, with the Spartans prevailing, 4-3, Saturday at the Bristol Racquet Club.
For nearly two hours, Upstate’s (14-7, 5-3 A-Sun) Allison Beeler and Kennesaw’s (9-12, 4-4 A-Sun) Tamara Plocher dueled out the No. 5 singles match with the team score tied 3-3. Plocher led by a set and was ahead 5-2 in the second – even earning match points along the way – but Beeler came back to win the next five games before taking the final set and the match, 3-6, 7-5, 7-5.
USC Upstate advances to take on No. 2 North Florida in the semifinals on Saturday at 12:30 p.m. The other women’s semifinal between No. 1 ETSU and No. 4 Stetson will be contested at 10 a.m.
Upstate jumped out to take the doubles point, weathering a late Kennesaw rally. Beeler and Constanze Kuerten contested the only decisive set, defeating Blaire LaSure and Therese Lagerkvist, 8-1, on court three, giving the Spartans an advantage.
The Owls did not surrender the point quietly. Sets on courts one and two were on serve until Upstate pulled ahead with a break late in each set on both courts. Up 7-4 at No. 2, Isabel von Stryk and Talia Rojas allowed the Owls to get within a game, but finished off the set to clinch the first point of the quarterfinal, 8-6.
Julie Bell and Taylor Cohen of Upstate were ahead 8-7 against Jana Hueckinghaus and Alexandra Apostu when the Spartans clinched.
Atlantic Sun First Team member Virginie Stein got Kennesaw State on the scoreboard quickly in singles. Stein ran away with her match on the top court, 6-0, 6-2, against Isabel von Stryk, leveling the score, 1-1. Fellow first-team selection Apostu gave the Owls their first lead shortly thereafter, defeating Cohen on court three, 6-2, 6-1.
The first three-set match of the day came to completion, putting the Owls within a point of victory. Lagerkvist won her first set, dropped the second, but stayed composed and defeated Beeler on court four, 6-1, 2-6, 6-1.
At the same time, KSU had a 5-3 advantage on court two, already having taken the opening set. Kuerten made a furious comeback and kept the Spartans alive, winning the next three games and a tiebreak, 7-5, before taking the third set at love.
The No. 5 and 6 matches were left to decide the outcome with KSU clinging to a one-point lead. Bell erased it at No. 6, beating Isabela Castro, 6-4, 6-1, and making the match on court five between Plocher and Beeler the deciding duel.