March 2, 2012
HUNTINGTON, W.Va.- The Marshall University women’s tennis team improved to 4-6 for the season and 2-0 at home with a resounding 7-0 victory over the Liberty University Flames on Friday afternoon at the Huntington Tennis Club.
The dual match began with doubles action, and the Thundering Herd moved quickly to sweep Liberty three matches to none. On court one, Dominika Zaprazna and Maria Voscekova made quick work of Alexandra Sheeran and Rebekah Jenkins with an 8-2 win that moves the tandem's doubles record to an impressive 7-2 for the season. The Slovakian duo scored on several service aces, overpowering the Flames’ number one pairing for the Herd’s first victory of the day.
Ellie Ball and Kara Kucin made similar progress, snatching an 8-4 win after jumping out to an early 7-3 lead. The tandem's victory over Liberty’s Brittany Yang and Nicola Wellman assured the doubles point was awarded to the Herd.
On the number three court, Kia Broomfield and Karli Timko were forced to fight a little harder, grinding out an 8-6 win that featured several lead changes. The 14th game went all the way to deuce, and following several changes in advantage, the Marshall duo defeated the Flames’ Cameron Richard and Carol Lobel.
In the singles matches, Marshall witnessed the stellar play of freshman Ellie Ball propel the team to a 2-0 advantage with an early win in her number three match. The Bristol, England, native won back-to-back 6-1 sets to finish first and keep the Herd on pace for the overall win.
Kucin and Zaprazna then reassured the Marshall victory with convincing two-set victories. After Kucin defeated Brittany Yang 6-2, 6-3, Zaprazna clinched the match for the Herd with 6-3 and 7-5 wins. In the latter set, the junior number one found herself down three games, but battled back to take the set and match from Liberty’s Alexandra Sheeran.
After Kristina Koprcina won her match over Nicola Wellman in a third set tiebreaker to extend Marshall’s lead to 5-0, only number two Maria Voscekova and number six Kia Broomfield were left on the court. Voscekova battled hard throughout the match, fighting off injury and her opponent to win in back-to-back tiebreakers. The second set tiebreaker went all the way to 12-10 before the sophomore was able to claim victory over the Flames’ Cameron Richard.
After looking as though she would surrender the number six match to Liberty’s Carol Lobel, Broomfield, too, fought hard, coming back from a set down to win the second and third sets in tiebreakers. The freshman from Toronto was in a 0-1 hole after losing 6-3 in the first, but rallied to claim her first career singles victory for Marshall with 7-6 (7-2) and 1-0 (10-6) wins.
“I thought the majority of our players played pretty well today,” said Marshall head coach John Mercer at the end of the match. “We’re starting to see some improvement and we need to keep working on our game to gain some confidence. Hopefully we can take advantage of having four matches in a row here at home, and that being said, we’ve won one here today and have another big one coming up against Virginia Tech tomorrow. Historically that’s been a great match for us, and I’m sure it will be tomorrow as well.”
The Herd will now have less than 24 hours to recover before it must turn around and play Virginia Tech at 10:00 a.m. tomorrow, also at the Huntington Tennis Club. Fans are encouraged to come watch the showdown between two of the region’s top teams, and participate in the USTA Campus Kids Day that will take place during the match. Free pizza, donuts, and t-shirts will be available to kids in attendance.