April 18, 2014
NORFOLK, Va. – After having had the first two rounds off thanks to a No. 4-seed double-bye, the Marshall women’s tennis team used its rest as an advantage on its way to a 4-2 win over No. 5-seed Louisiana Tech in the quarterfinal round of the Conference USA Championships on Friday afternoon at Folkes-Stevens Tennis Center.
With the win, the Thundering Herd is now 14-7 overall this season and has won a C-USA tournament dual match in each of the last eight seasons. The Lady Techsters drop to 15-7 as their season ends a day after having downed UAB in the second round of the championships. Marshall is now 3-0 this spring in dual matches played on neutral courts.
“I am really proud of our effort and perseverance today,” said Marshall coach John Mercer. “We had some opportunities we weren’t able to finish but had some others that we got the job done on.”
With the championship formation having started with singles play kicking off the dual match, the Lady Techsters got off to a better start than the Herd by winning court No. 3 to go ahead 1-0.
Freshman Derya Turhan (Bad Salzuflen, Germany) helped Marshall tie the contest at one point apiece with a clean, 7-5, 6-4, victory in straight sets. Continuing its run, freshman Anna Pomyatinskaya (Sochi, Russia) downed her opponent in the No. 4 position, 7-6, 6-4, in straight sets to put her side on top 2-1.
LA Tech would counter by taking the next singles contest to conclude, in three-set fashion on court No. 1 court after the Herd had taken the opening set. The dual match score sat at 2-2 with two singles match in progress.
With the match coming down to the wire, Marshall jumped ahead with a quick, 6-3, 6-3, win from freshman Rachael Morales (Reynoldsburg, Ohio) in two sets to put her squad ahead in the dual match, 3-2.
The lone Marshall senior exhibited experience and poise in the final singles match of the day as Karli Timko (Houston, Pa.) won, 6-4, 3-6, 6-2, to win her contest on court No. 5 and clinch the 4-2 dual match win for the Herd in the quarterfinal round. As a result of Marshall getting to four dual match points at the conclusion of singles play, the doubles point was no longer a factor in the outcome and was therefore not played.
“It was a real team effort and I just felt like there was a lot of adversity but we just kept plowing away and that is just what you have to do in conference tournaments, hang in there and keep fighting,” Mercer said post match. “LA Tech is a tough team full of good competitors who battled, which we expected and we knew they would be tough to beat so it was good to get the win.”
With the win, Marshall will now play in Saturday’s semifinals of the C-USA Tournament at 12 p.m. against the winner of No. 1 Tulsa and No. 9 Middle Tennessee. The Herd looks to advance to the C-USA Championship dual match on Sunday with an automatic bid to the 2014 NCAA Tournament at stake.
The last time Marshall made the semifinal round was during the 2011 spring season, with the last time the Herd was victorious in the semis having been 2010.
No. 4 Marshall 4, No. 5 LA Tech 2
Singles (Order of finish: 3, 2, 4, 1, 6, 5)
1. Alexandra Starkova (LA Tech) def. Dana Oppinger (Marshall) – 2-6, 7-6, 6-2
2. Derya Turhan (Marshall) def. Joanna Nalborska (LA Tech) – 7-5, 6-4
3. Jazmin Britos (LA Tech) def. Kai Broomfield (Marshall) – 6-3, 6-1
4. Anna Pomyatinskaya (Marshall) def. Marta Sramkova (LA Tech) – 7-6, 6-4
5. Karli Timko (Marshall) def. Melanie Urvoy (LA Tech) – 6-4, 3-6, 6-2
6. Rachael Morales (Marshall) def. Manoela Chiacchio (LA Tech) – 6-3, 6-3