BRADENTON, Fla. – In another regular season match reminiscent of last year, Barry University’s No. 3 women’s tennis team defeated defending national champion and No. 1 Armstrong Atlantic, 5-4, Sunday at IMG Academy. The win improved Barry’s record to 8-0.
Armstrong Atlantic, who beat Barry in last year’s NCAA quarterfinals, fell to 4-1.
“We’ve been in this situation before,” Barry assistant coach Maria Lopez said. “I think one of the things we’re stressing is how are we going to approach this situation again? We wish we could play these types of matches all the time.”
The Buccaneers fell behind 2-1 after doubles, dropping the top two flights. At No. 1, Armstrong’s No. 2-ranked Aleksandra Filipovski and Barbara Krtickova beat Barry’s top-ranked team of Linda Fritschken and Emma Onila, 8-2. AASU’s No. 6-ranked Marlen Hacke and Olga Kalodzitsa defeated Kimmy Twelker and Anaeve Pain, 8-1, at No. 2. Barry’s Karina Goia and Isabela Miro supplied the Bucs’ lone doubles point in an 8-4 victory over Clara Perez and Carolina Prats-Millan.
Ranked No. 19 in the nation, Goia avenged her NCAA quarterfinals loss to 16th-ranked Hacke with a 6-4, 6-0 win at No. 3 singles to tie the match at 2-2. Pain, a freshman at Barry, won her No. 4 singles match over Prats-Millan, 6-2, 6-0, to give the Buccaneers a 3-2 lead in the match. It was Perez's first singles loss during a dual match in her three-year career.
But Armstrong regained control as Filipovski, ranked No. 3 in the country, defeated the eighth-ranked Onila, 6-3, 7-6 (7-2), at No. 1. Then the 15th-ranked Krtickova slipped past 31st-ranked Fritschken, 7-5, 7-5, at No. 2. That put the Pirates ahead, 4-3.
Barry’s ninth-ranked Elisabeth Abanda found herself in a fight with the sixth-ranked Perez at No. 5, while Twelker was entrenched in a third-set duel with Dora Andrejszki at No. 6.
“The girls had a really good start in the third set,” Lopez said. “Both of them were pretty successful on taking chances.”
Twelker fought through a tough second set to pull out a 2-6, 7-5, 6-2 win over Andrejszki to tie the match at 4-4, and Abanda clinched it with a 1-6, 6-3, 6-2 victory over Perez.
“(Head coach) Avi (Kigel) and I were really happy with how hard they worked,” Lopez said. “They were giving it their all. This is what we’ve been asking them, so they did a good job of that. I think they’re all very happy, and they’ll understand that tomorrow’s a new day, and we’ll have a lot of things to work on. Hopefully, it’s motivation for them to get better, and that’s what we want from them.”
Last year, the Bucs may have been a little too high after their regular season win over the Pirates, who won the national championship the previous year as well.
“They’re a little bit more humble this year,” Lopez said. “There’s a bigger picture out there. It’s early in the season. We have a lot of good work to do. There’s a lot of things we have to work on, and I think that they understand that.
“We’re excited what’s next, and how they’re going to approach the season from here on. It was great to see some of the new girls like Ana, and how she handled her matches.”