Women's tennis team captures first-ever NCAA title, Barry's ninth overall
In the end, it was fitting that it came down to Barbi Pocza.
Pocza, the Barry University senior co-captain, who would go on to be named the Sunshine State Conference's Player of the Year and Female Scholar-Athlete of the Year, was engaged in a three-set battle against Lynn University's Magdalena Ekert, with the NCAA Division II national championship on the line. Pocza swept the first set, 6-0; Ekert the second, 6-3.
Tied at 3-3 in the third, Pocza did what she does best – rally to win.
Game. Set. Match. Champions.
As a result of Pocza's 6-3 triumph over Ekert, her Buccaneers (26-1) won their first-ever national title – Barry University's ninth overall since 1989.
"Barbi came through, as she always does," coach Avi Kigel said. "That is what makes her so special. She has a knack for coming up big when she needs to. We have asked her to help lead this team, and she did what a strong leader does – lead by example, and come through in the clutch."
Pocza and the rest of her Buccaneer teammates were forced to regroup after a rain delay halted the previous day's action. When play resumed, though, the Bucs took one doubles match and four singles matches to earn the crown.
In doubles action, Pocza teamed up with Angie Werschel to defeat Lynn's Eleonora Iannozzi and Ioana Ivan, 8-6. The Buccaneers' remaining points came during singles competition at flights three, four and six. Wins by junior Caroline Wendling and freshmen Mona Mansour and Olivia Matuszak combined to give Barry its margin of victory.
"This was truly a special year for us," Kigel added. "It was important for this group of seniors [Pocza, Laura Bouget and, Werschel] to go out on top, especially after last year's loss in the national championship tournament [5-0 to Armstrong Atlantic]. The whole team made it a goal to not only get back to the tournament, but to win it, and to do so against such a strong opponent as Lynn, made it even more special."