SWAC Women's Tennis Recaps: Semifinals
NEW ORLEANS, La. – The 2018 Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) Women’s Tennis Tournament shifted venues to the Hilton Riverside indoor tennis courts in New Orleans, La. on a soggy Saturday that saw rain downpours throughout the day in the Big Easy.
Under the roof, top-seeded Alabama State found their groove by topping No. 4 Jackson State 4-1 to solidify their spot back in the championship. The Lady Hornets will be looking to repeat as SWAC Women’s Tennis Championship on Sunday when they face No. 5 Alcorn State, who rallied back to slip past No. 2 Prairie View A&M 4-3 in the late semifinal match.
Alcorn State, a three-time SWAC Women’s Tennis Champion, last won the title in 2008. Alabama State has also won the title on three occasions (1995, 1999 and 2017).
The championship match is set to return back to the City Park/ Pepsi Tennis Courts beginning at 9 a.m. with sunshine and cooler temperatures in the 50s anticipated for the area.
Alabama State (11-8) picked up victories in singles play from No. 3 Gabriela Lackova (defeated Oni Jones 7-6 (5), 6-1), No. 4 Lea Krajcovicova (beat Nina Zhang 6-4, 6-3) and No. 5 Mirna Curcic (topped Ariel Dickson 6-4, 6-4).
The Lady Hornets took two of three matches in doubles play to win the point. Lackova and Krajcovicova teamed to beat Jones and Daria Butorina 6-2 in the No. 2 doubles spot while Curcic and Marija Blazevic got past Zhang and Dickson 6-4. The Lady Tigers’ duo of Tyler Smith and Lucia Solis topped Reka Szentes and Chloe Kabama 6-3. Smith also won the lone point for Jackson State by taking Kabama in straight sets 7-5, 6-0.
In the late match, Alcorn State (8-14) trailed 3-1 after Prairie View A&M took the doubles point and then won at both the No. 2 and No. 4 singles position. Neharika Rama defeated Ammaarah Tim 7-5, 6-3 at No. 2 before Constanza Aranguiz upended Klavdija Bukovec 6-2, 6-4 at the No. 4 spot.
Lady Panther duos of Rama and Aranguiz beat Bianca Birkenstock and Anastasia Vaganova 6-1 followed by a victory by Shaddae Findley and Tatiana Ruhl over Tim and Maganuco 6-1.
Then, the comeback occurred.
Birkenstock dropped the first set, but rallied back to earn a 5-7, 6-1, 6-3 victory against Stacy Lackey at the No. 1 singles position.
Maganuco defeated Jimena Duran-Castellanos 6-0, 7-6 (5) at the No. 3 spot and then Vaganova forced a seventh match by beating Findley 6-1, 6-2.
In the seventh and deciding match, Marlene Maier outlasted Timara Maxwell 6-1, 7-6 (3) at the No. 6 spot in a match up of players who had been undefeated in conference singles play during the regular season. Maier improved to 12-3 on the season.