Senior Tina Ronel for the Armstrong Lady Pirates

Lady Pirates Advance To NCAA Semifinals

(May 12, 2011) The No. 4-ranked and three-time defending NCAA Division II national champion Armstrong Atlantic State University women's tennis team advanced to the national semifinals for an eighth straight time with a 5-0 victory over No. 5-ranked Hawai'i Pacific on Thursday afternoon at Sanlando Park in Altamonte Springs, Fla.

The Lady Pirates (28-2) earn a date with No. 2-ranked Barry University - 5-0 winners over Concordia (N.Y.) on Thursday - in one national semifinal match at 1:00 p.m. on Friday. Hawai'i Pacific finishes the season with a 19-6 overall record.

The match was completely different from the regular season matchup these two teams engaged in two months ago - the Warriors led early in all three doubles matches on that day, taking two of three doubles wins and pushing the Lady Pirates to a close 5-4 match score.

Thursday, the Lady Pirates broke the first serve of HPU in all three doubles matches, coming away with a doubles sweep and a commanding 3-0 lead. Aleksandra Filipovski and Jessica Gardefjord were first off the court with an 8-2 win over Florie Paquay and Carrie Shuler at No. 3 doubles, then the No. 3-ranked duo of Alida Muller-Wehlau and Barbora Krtickova claimed an 8-3 win over No. 7-ranked Zora Vickova and Celina Goetti at No. 1 doubles. Tina Ronel and Kathleen Henry finished things off with an 8-5 win over Ielyzaveta Rybakova and Aleksandra Stankovic at No. 3 doubles.

In singles play, Armstrong's No. 12-ranked Filipovski was leading the Warriors' No. 42-ranked Goetti, 2-1, in the first set, but the elements forced Goetti to retire during the changeover, giving the Lady Pirates a quick fourth point. Senior and No. 28-ranked Ronel then finished off a 6-1, 6-1 straight-set win over HPU's Stankovic at No. 4 singles to clinch the match.

In the last eight consecutive trips to the national semifinals, the Lady Pirates have gone 6-2 in semifinal matches, eventually going on to capture national titles in 2005, 2008, 2009 and 2010.

Barry, however, is one of two teams to have defeated the Lady Pirates this season - they took a 6-3 win over Armstrong back on April 8 in Miami Shores, Fla., ending the Lady Pirates' school-record consecutive match win streak at 69. The win was the first for Barry over Armstrong women's tennis since 2003.

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