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Courtesy: Clay Bailey

Alabama State wins Women’s Tennis Championship

Courtesy: SWAC.org
Release: 04/16/2017
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NEW ORLEANS, La. – Top-seeded Alabama State completed their undefeated season against conference opponents this season 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 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.

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


Most Valuable Player

Marine Cartier                        Alabama State

Coach of the Year

Anuk Christiansz                     Alabama State