BLACKSBURG, Va. (Feb. 6, 2010) - Heading into this season the whole key for the ETSU women's tennis team's success this spring would be the Lady Bucs ability to win the doubles point early in a match. Unfortunately, for ETSU its one-day trip to regional rival Virginia Tech Saturday played out this key in a negative fashion after the 54th-ranked Hokies picked up the doubles point and a 5-2 win inside the Burrows-Burleson Tennis Center.
"In order for us to beat a ranked team and then become ranked ourselves we have to come out and win the doubles point," said head coach Steve Brooks. "This afternoon we came out blazing early, but against great teams like Virginia Tech you have to close out every match in order to win. Early we took leads at all three positions, but it's not always how you start that's important. Once you take a lead you have to maintain that confidence. That being said, I have to give credit to Virginia Tech freshman Emily Lauten who helped them comeback during doubles. She was the key for them being able to really hit some shots and start their response."
After the Hokies took the early lead after winning two-out-of-three doubles matches, Virginia Tech extended its advantage to 2-0 as Shannon Betts dropped sophomore Karina Kedzo (Puerto Ordaz, Venezuela) in straight sets at No. 4 6-1, 6-1.
Senior Yevgenyia Stupak (Kyiv, Ukraine) pulled the Lady Bucs within a point of the Hokies after she cruised past 96th-ranked Martha Blakey 6-0, 6-0. With her ranked win, Stupak matched sophomore teammate Paula Jaime (Madrid, Spain) - who also won in singles Saturday - as the second ETSU student-athlete to defeat a ranked ITA player this spring.
"I thought Yevgenyia played one of her best matches of her career," said Brooks. "This is the second time she's played this girl since the fall and in this match Stupak rolled past her while dropping only a couple of points all day."
After junior Kelly Holtzhausen (Johannesburg, South Africa) lost her match to Christin Newman, Virginia Tech's Lauten closed out the win with a 6-4, 6-4 victory over junior Andra Voinea (Brasov, Romania).
One a positive note Jaime did pick up the Lady Bucs second point of the day with a 1-6, 6-2, 6-4 comeback win over Yasmin Hamza at No. 3. With her victory Jamie now sits with a perfect 3-0 record this spring.
"Overall, I think the girls have to become tougher when they get into playing deuce points and in the longer sets," said Brooks. "Today we had some chances that we just didn't capitalize on. It's early in the season so hopefully we can learn from this and come back tomorrow and play better."
ETSU will now have a short break before returning to action with a 11 a.m. contest Sunday against 57th-ranked Georgia State inside the Bristol Racquet Club and Fitness Center.
Attached above is a link to final results of today's match between ETSU and Virginia Tech.
For more information on the ETSU women's tennis team please visit www.ETSUBucs.com.