Women’s tennis to begin play in Saturday’s semifinal round
JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (April 19, 2012) – The defending Atlantic Sun Champion ETSU women’s tennis team will look to make it back-to-back titles, as it enters this year’s championship as the No. 2 seed set to take on the winner of No. 3 Florida Gulf Coast and No. 6 Jacksonville on Saturday in the semifinals at the Buddy Hartsell Tennis Center.
ETSU (11-8, 7-2 A-Sun) lost just two games in conference play this year, including its first home defeat in over three years when it fell to the Championship’s No. 5 seed, Kennesaw State (14-7, 6-3 A-Sun), 4-3. Top seeded North Florida (14-4, 9-0 A-Sun) handed the Bucs their other defeat, 6-1, on March 17 in Jacksonville, Fla. The other squad traveling to Johnson City, Tenn., will be Stetson (13-6, 6-3 A-Sun), who enters the bracket as the No. 4 seed, taking on KSU in Friday’s other quarterfinal.
In last year’s Championship, top seeded ETSU defeated host No. 4 Stetson 4-1 in the semifinals, before taking out UNF 4-1 in the finals to bring home its third A-Sun title.
Last weekend, the Bucs ended the 2012 regular season with a 7-0 sweep of USC Upstate. The shutout was ETSU’s fifth of the season, and knocked the Spartans out of A-Sun Championship contention. At No. 1 singles, senior Paula Jaime (Madrid, Spain) – this year’s A-Sun Scholar-Athlete of the Year – won her 90th career match with a 6-4, 7-5 putdown of Isabel von Stryk. More ETSU history was made at No. 4 singles, with Karina Kedzo (Puerto Ordaz, Venezuela) defeating Hannah Al-Sakati 6-4, 6-1 for the senior’s 70th all-time win, moving her into the top 10 of ETSU’s record books.
Jaime leads ETSU into Championship weekend with a 25-9 overall record, including at 13-6 mark in dual play, 8-1 mark in A-Sun action along with a team-leading eight-match winning streak. The Madrid native’s 25 singles victories tie her season high which she set as a freshman in 2009, going 25-8.
Freshman Jessica Brumit (Elizabethton, Tenn.) tied Jaime for the most spring victories, boasting a 13-5 dual record along with a 7-1 mark in A-Sun play. A member of this year’s A-Sun All-Freshman Team, Brumit has won 20 matches through the fall and spring combined, and currently rides a seven-match winning streak.
Third-seeded Florida Gulf Coast enters Friday’s quarterfinals on a two-match winning streak after completing the Nashville sweep against Lipscomb and Belmont to close out the regular season. The Eagles were as low as 2-3 in the A-Sun before winning their last four conference matches to earn the Championship’s No. 3 seed. FGCU’s only loss within that timeframe came in non-conference action against Binghamton on April 8.
Morgan Bechtel and Bettina Botha lead the Eagles with 6-3 singles records through the A-Sun season. Bechtel’s spring record was 10-9, with a 7-5 mark in her primary No. 4 position. Botha spends most of her matches at No. 5, where she went 10-5 through dual play.
Jacksonville snuck into the Championship field by winning three of their last four conference matches, defeating Lipscomb, Belmont and Mercer before falling in the regular season finale to Kennesaw State. The Dolphins finished the season with the same A-Sun record as USC Upstate, but won the head-to-head tiebreak by defeating the Spartans 6-1 back on March 17.
Natalia Melibeu and Djessika Bezerra led the way for JU with 5-4 A-Sun singles records. Melibeu was a combined 9-10 through spring play, competing most of the time at No. 2 with an 8-8 record. Bezerra’s primary position in the No. 4 match, where she is 8-4.
During the regular season, ETSU defeated both Jacksonville and Florida Gulf Coast. The Bucs handled the Dolphins 6-1 in their A-Sun opener on March 16 in Jacksonville, Fla., and swept FGCU 7-0 at the Bristol Racquet Club on March 24.
Live stats for all ETSU matches will be available throughout the entire 2012 A-Sun Tennis Championships courtesy of ETSUBucs.com
For more information on ETSU tennis, please visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the tennis links.