For the first time in its program history, the LSUA women’s tennis team advances to the semifinals of the national tournament. The Generals outlasted No. 6 SCAD Savannah 4-0 on Thursday afternoon at the Mobile Tennis Center.
With the victory, LSUA (19-0) matched its most wins for a single season in school history, tying the 19 victories in 2017.
“Our girls, Coach Todd Urbina, and I are all so excited about making it to the semifinals of the National Tennis Tournament for the first time,” LSUA Women’s Tennis Head Coach Melinda Descant said. “The girls have worked really hard at practice for this all year and have fought hard on the courts during all of the matches in the tournament. I’m so proud of these young ladies.”
The Generals play No. 2 Keiser on Friday at 1 pm, who knocked off Xavier 4-1 in the quarterfinals.
In the clinching match, Romero Gomez dominated the first set 6-1 before Yu came back to win the second set 6-2. It looked as if Yu would hold on in the deciding third set, trading points with Romero Gomez and leading 3-2, but the LSUA junior stormed back with four consecutive games to win the set and clinch the match, setting off a celebration on the court. The clinching point came at a time when four singles matches were in the third set with SCAD (11-5) holding slim advantages in three of them.
LSUA began the day by taking a pair of matches in doubles, led once again by Romero Gomez with her partner Sofia Beggiatto. The pairing fell behind 2-1 early in their match at the No. 3 doubles spot before rallying off five consecutive games to win the match.
Annemart Kleijn has continued to be a machine, both in singles and doubles. With the matches at Nos. 1 and 2 in doubles coming down to the wire, the pairing of Kleijn and Olivia Scattini dug deep and came away with a 7-5 victory at No. 1 to earn the doubles point for the third-seeded Generals.
In the match, LSUA jumped out to a 5-1 advantage before the SCAD (11-5) pairing of Alessia Piccoliori and Francina Puig Llompart stormed back with four straight games to knot the match at 5. But the LSUA duo dug deep and rattled off two in a row to clinch the point for the Generals.
Kleijn also emerged with a straight sets victory in singles once again, not allowing her opponent to win any games in the second set, coming away with a 6-4, 6-0, triumph against Tova Tilk Tobrand. Out of the four sets she has played in singles in the NAIA Tournament, she has not allowed her opponent to win a game in three of the sets.
The Generals dominated the first sets, winning five of the six opening sets, before the Bees flipped the script and came away with four victories in the second set, forcing four matches to go the distance.
LSUA’s final victory came at No. 1 in a close match between Candela Bonivardi and Priya Sukkanha. After Sukkanha won a tight first set 6-4 and led a close second set 5-4, she had to retire due to injury and the Generals earned the point, which gave them a 3-0 lead before Romero Gomez clinched the match moments later.
The winner of the semifinal match will take on the winner of No. 1 Georgia Gwinnett and No. 5 Montreat in the title match on Saturday afternoon.
Mobile Tennis Center, Mobile, Ala.
Written by Jonathon Zenk, LSUA Athletics
Image credit - Cameron Mosely