Barry Ends Lady Pirates’ Hope for Fourth Straight Title
(May 13, 2011) The three-time defending NCAA Division II national champion Armstrong Atlantic State University women's tennis team saw its bid for a record-tying fourth straight title come to an end on Friday afternoon as the fourth-ranked Lady Pirates fell to the second-ranked Barry University Buccaneers, 5-3, at Sanlando Park in Altamonte Springs, Fla.
The Lady Pirates (27-3) fall shy in their attempt to tie SIU Edwardsville, who won four straight titles from 1986-89, while Barry (25-1) meets fellow Sunshine State Conference school Lynn for the National Championship on Saturday afternoon at 1:00 p.m.
Armstrong fell behind 2-1 after doubles play as the No. 3-ranked duo of Alida Muller-Wehlau and Barbora Krtickova claimed an 8-4 win over No. 2-ranked Barbi Pocza and Angie Werschel at No. 1 singles, but Barry's No. 22-ranked Alex Gwizdowski and Laura Boguet erased an early deficit to defeat No. 13-ranked Kathleen Henry and Tina Ronel, 8-6, at No. 2 doubles. Julie Stas and Olivia Matusak then picked up an 8-4 win over Aleksandra Filipovski and Jessica Gardefjord at No. 3 doubles.
In singles play, No. 12-ranked Filipovski drew the Lady Pirates even with the Bucs with a quick 6-0, 6-1 win over No. 44-ranked Caroline Wendling, but Barry went back ahead on a 6-3, 6-3 win by Laura Boguet over No. 49-ranked Kathleen Henry. Olivia Matuszak beat No. 28-ranked Tina Ronel, 6-4, 6-1, to put Barry one match away from clinching.
No. 11-ranked Krtickova kept the Lady Pirates alive with a 6-3, 6-4 win over No. 36-ranked Angie Werschel at No. 2 singles, but No. 3-ranked Pocza's key first-set tiebreak win propelled her to a 7-6 (5), 6-2 win over No. 7-ranked Muller-Wehlau at No. 1 singles.
"I think that we've had great continuity with our program," Armstrong head tennis coach Simon Earnshaw said after the match. "We've been able to build and build through the years. Every now and again you're going to have a lot of new players, and the majority were new this year. I think losing Sona [Novakova] after two years definitely hurt us - not being able to see her through her senior year kind of made this year particularly difficult.
"It's been a difficult year, I feel like we never reached our potential. In other years I feel like we might have overachieved a lot of the time, it seemed like we would come out in the big matches and execute everything we've been working on.
"In 2007, we had a lot of new players and those girls were the ones who eventually sent us on this good run. We've got a lot of work to do over the next 12 months - we have to take a step back and look at where we are and what we need to do moving forward. Obviously disappointing - it's been a lot of hard work and I would have liked to see us play better."