BEAUMONT, Texas – The McNeese tennis team fought back after dropping five of their first six singles sets to Sam Houston State to secure a 4-2 victory on Saturday, advancing the team to their first Southland Conference tournament finals appearance since 2004.
The Cowgirls will face Northwestern State Sunday at 2 p.m. for the tournament championship while looking for their first ever NCAA berth.
The Cowgirls (17-3) looked dominant in doubles play against Bearkats (14-6).
Starting the day off for McNeese at the number three position Charoline Erlandsson and Phonexay Chitdara defeated the SHSU duo of Sahaja Yamalapalli and Roos Gerritsen 6-2 to give McNeese an early lead for the doubles point.
The Cowgirl duo of Sarah Jurakova and Hannah Brett finished next in the number one spot defeating Carrie Casey and Mila Milanovic 6-3 to secure the doubles point and give the Cowgirls and early 1-0 lead on the day.
McNeese's Giovanna Fioretti and Marija Mastilovic ended their match against Fabienne Gettwart and Khee Yen Wee with no result.
Down 1-0 the Bearkats came out swinging to open singles play, winning five of six first sets.
At the number six position Mastilovic was the only Cowgirl to win her first set. She defeated Casey 6-2 in the first set before being blanked 0-6 in the second set of the match. With the point on the line Mastilovic buckled down and defeated Casey 6-4 in their final set to extend the Cowgirl's lead to 2-0.
Next to finish on the day Erlandsson dropped her first set to her Bearkat counterpart Lusine Chobanyan 2-6. Trailing in the second set Erlandsson came storming back to take set number two by a score of 6-4. In the final set Erlandsson showed no mercy and put her opponent away 6-1 to give McNeese its third point of the day.
Trailing 3-0 Sam Houston still had some fight left in them.
At the number two position Yamalapalli defeated Cowgirl Jurakova 7-5 in their first set. Jurakova battled into a tie-breaker in the second set before falling to Yamalapalli 7-6 (7-2).
In the number six spot McNeese's Chitdara fell in her first set 1-6 to Milanovic. Chitdara wasn't done yet and took the second set by a score of 6-4. In the third set Milanovic ran out to a 5-1 lead before Chitdara came storming back to tie the set at five a piece. Milanovic would get the better of the Cowgirl and take the set 7-5 to give Sam Houston their second point of the day.
Finishing last at the number three position Cowgirl Brett dropped her first set 4-6 to Wee. In the second set Brett dominated the competition and took the set 6-4. In their final set Brett was leading 5-4 only needing one more set to win the match for the Cowgirls. On a long volley between the two competitors Wee put too much muscle behind the ball, hitting it out of bounds and losing the set to Brett. Brett would take the set 6-4 to secure the match for the Cowgirls and sending them to the tournament championship.
Tennis Match Results
Sam Houston State vs McNeese
4/28/2018 at Beaumont, Texas
(Beaumont Municipal Tennis Center)
McNeese 4, Sam Houston State 2
1. Giovanna Fioretti (MCN) vs. Fabienne Gettwart (SHSU) 6-7 (3-7), 6-4, 2-1, unfinished
2. Sahaja Yamalapalli (SHSU) def. Sarah Jurakova (MCN) 7-5, 7-6 (7-2)
3. Hannah Brett (MCN) def. Khee Yen Wee (SHSU) 4-6, 6-2, 6-4
4. Marija Mastilovic (MCN) def. Carrie Casey (SHSU) 6-2, 0-6, 6-4
5. Charoline Erlandsson (MCN) def. Lusine Chobanyan (SHSU) 2-6, 6-4, 6-1
6. Mila Milanovic (SHSU) def. Phonexay Chitdara (MCN) 6-1, 4-6, 7-5
1. Sarah Jurakova/Hannah Brett (MCN) def. Carrie Casey/Mila Milanovic (SHSU) 6-3
2. Giovanna Fioretti/Marija Mastilovic (MCN) def. Fabienne Gettwart/Khee Yen Wee (SHSU) 4-3
3. Charoline Erlandsson/Phonexay Chitdara (MCN) def. Sahaja Yamalapalli/Roos Gerritsen (SHSU) 6-2
Sam Houston State 14-6