Jan. 14, 2012
YPSILANTI, Mich.- The Thundering Herd tennis team started the 2012 season off on a high note by claiming a decisive 5-2 victory over the Eastern Michigan University Eagles on Saturday afternoon in Ypsilanti.
The matchup between the former MAC foes began at 1:00 p.m. at the Chippewa Racquet Club with doubles action as Marshall’s No. 35 ranked duo of Dominika Zaprazna and Maria Voscekova squared-off against EMU’s No. 57 ranked pair of Miriam Westerink and Nino Mebuke in a battle of nationally ranked doubles teams.
The Herd tandem would establish its dominance from the onset, though, playing to a confidence-building 8-5 win over the home side in the early season matchup. Marshall’s No. 2 team of Ellie Ball and Karli Timko was not as fortunate, however, as the pair fell to Mariya Toncheva and Georgia de’Lisle-Tarr, 6-8. The No. 3 matchup, though, fell in the Herd’s favor, as Kara Kucin and Kristina Koprcina fought to a deserved 8-5 victory over Marcela Rivero and Ankita Bhatia to snatch the doubles victory for Marshall.
With the Herd holding a 1-0 lead following the doubles matches, the contest moved into singles action as Zaprazna faced-off against Westerink in a battle of number ones. The Marshall ace found little resistance from her Eagle opponent, though, cruising to 6-1 and 6-3 victories in two sets. The Herd’s No. 2, Voscekova, also won her singles match, albeit by a slimmer margin. The Bratislava, Slovakia, native had to fight hard to fend off EMU’s Mebuke in a first set tiebreaker, but went on to win the second set by a 6-2 score.
Freshman Ellie Ball played in the No. 3 slot and won consecutive 6-4 sets to ensure the Thundering Herd would walk away with overall victory, while Kara Kucin added a win for good measure as she swept Rivero 6-0 in two sets. Timko and newcomer Kia Broomfield fell to EMU’s Friedrichs and Bhatia in their respective matches to hand the Eagles their only two wins of the day, but Marshall still took the overall match 5-2.
The road win means Marshall begins a season with a 1-0 record for the third consecutive year and is now 15-5 all-time versus Eastern Michigan. The Herd will now remain on the road to play Kentucky on January 20 and against UNC and Brown or VCU in the National Indoor Tournament on January 28 and 29 in Chapel Hill, N.C. The team will host its first home game when Morehead State comes to Huntington on February 4.