MIAMI SHORES, Fla. -- Barry University women's tennis team withstood a marathon match from arch-rival Lynn Sunday to win the NCAA South Region Championship, 5-4, at Buccaneer Tennis Center.
The No. 2-ranked Buccaneers (26-0) advance to the NCAA Finals for a Round of 16 match against No. 27 Midwestern State (17-6) at 4 p.m. EST/1 p.m. Arizona May 8 in Surprise, Ariz.
"This one was a tough match, but finally we won," Barry freshman Karina Goia said after clinching the Bucs' victory with a 6-1, 5-7, 6-1 win over Alina Jane at No. 4 singles. "We're looking forward to nationals."
Goia, who admitted she tired in the second set, was determined in the third set, putting Jane away quickly when all the other matches had finished -- the team score knotted at 4-4.
"In the third set, I knew everything depended on me, and I got really motivated," Goia said. "It was good."
Goia and Isabela Miro were instrumental in the victory as well as the pair combined for a comeback No. 3 doubles victory over Jane and Andrea Berkova, winning 9-7. The Bucs tandem trailed 6-3 before winning the next three games to tie it up, 6-6. After Lynn's duo went ahead 7-6, Goia and Miro won the next two games, breaking the Fighting Knights' serve to take an 8-7 lead. The Bucs clinched it on Miro's serve.
That gave Barry a 2-1 lead after doubles.
Linda Fritschken and Kimmy Twelker picked up the Bucs' first point, winning their No. 2 doubles match over Kim Przeszlowski and Aleks Vukadinovic, 8-4.
Fritschken continued her dominant display of tennis, delivering a 6-1, 6-0 win over Przeszlowski at No. 3 singles. Ranked No. 33 in the nation, Fritschken improved to 18-1, and has won 16 straight matches.
Akemi Maehama also won her 16th consecutive match, beating Vukadinovic, 7-6 (7-1), 6-0, at No. 6 singles. Her victory moved Barry within a point of clinching, setting the stage for Goia.
"It's amazing," Goia said with a smile. "It's an amazing feeling."