Feb. 15, 2013
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - In a lengthy dual meet that came down to the last match on the court, it was Marshall that outlasted Winthrop 4-3 Friday at the Huntington Tennis Club.
The Thundering Herd (4-4) was tied 3-3 with all of the attention on the No. 6 singles match between junior Karlyn Timkoand Winthrop's Ekin Gunaysu.
"I've never been in that situation where I was the deciding match," a delighted Timko said afterwards.
After dropping the first set 6-1, Timko won the second set 6-4 and finally the third 6-3 to give Marshall the win over the defending Big South Conference Champions, which fell to 3-3.
"John (Mercer) was helping me through it," said Timko of her head coach. "I felt everyone on the sidelines helping me through it. I just tried to keep myself calm.
"John's always telling us that when it's tight like that, that's where we want to be. We want to be the team that makes them feel the pressure."
The Herd got a big boost from the bottom of its lineup with wins from Timko at No. 6 singles, senior Kara Kucin (6-3, 6-4) at No. 5 singles and sophomore Kai Broomfield(1-6, 6-2, 6-1) at No. 4 singles. Both Timko and Broomfield came back to win after losing their first set 6-1.
Four of the six singles matches went to the third set including the No. 1 singles match that saw the Eagles' Yasmine Alkema defeat Dominka Zaprazna 5-7, 6-0, 6-0 and the No. 2 singles match that saw the Eagles' Andressa Garcia beat Maria Voscekova6-7, 6-4, 6-3.
All of the three set matches made for a lengthy outing as the dual lasted over four hours. It's something Mercer is used to when going against the Eagles.
"Winthrop is always a tough battle," Mercer said. "It seems like it always comes down to the last match. Being the Big South champs, they are used to winning a lot of matches and being successful."
Marshall started the meet by winning the doubles point with wins by Zaprazna and Voscekova at No. 1 doubles (8-2) and Timko who teamed up with Dana Oppingerfor the 8-2 win in No. 3 doubles.
"We are really improving in being competitive and hopefully it will be contagious," Mercer said. "We are learning how to win as a team."
Marshall will look toward a similar team effort on Sunday as it hosts undefeated and No. 48 Penn State (5-0) at 11 a.m.