MIAMI SHORES, Fla. – Barry University women’s tennis team beat the University of West Florida, 5-1, Sunday to capture the NCAA Division II South Region 1 championship at Buccaneer Tennis Center.
The win sends the top-ranked Buccaneers (24-1) on to the NCAA Round of 16 at Sanlando Park in Altamonte Springs, Florida, May 14-17. West Florida finished the season with a 24-5 record.
The Bucs punched their ticket to the site of the national finals for the fifth straight year and 19th time overall. Barry, the top seed in the South Region, will play Indiana (Pa.) at 10:30 a.m. May 14.
Barry’s Blanka Szavay and Karina Goia recorded the first win Sunday when they combined to beat the Argonauts No. 3 doubles team of Nina Bubelova and Fernanda Amaral, 8-2. Barry’s No. 7-ranked duo of Linda Fritschken and Emma Onila spotted the Bucs a 2-0 lead with an 8-4 victory over Kat Dikosavljevic and Francesca Fanchin at No. 2.
West Florida’s fifth-ranked Monika Kochanova and Laure-Eline Faure won the most highly-contested match of the day, beating No. 6 Kimmy Twelker and Ana Pain, 8-6, at the No. 1 flight. That sent Barry into singles, nursing a 2-1 lead.
Tied 5-5, Twelker and Pain broke the Argos’ serve to take a 6-5 lead. Kochanova and Faure won the next game to square the match at 6-6. West Florida’s duo won the following game to move within a game of closing out the match. With Twelker serving, Pain hit a baseline winner into the corner to give the Bucs a 40-30 lead, a point away of knotting the match at 7-7. But the Argos’ pair battled back to force five deuce points before a couple of Bucs errors gave West Florida the victory.
Fritschken, who relishes the challenge of the postseason, was the first to finish in singles as the Buccaneers’ No. 23-ranked singles player in the nation walked over Bubelova, 6-0, 6-0, at No. 3. That gave Barry a 3-1 lead. Fritschken moved within one win of a milestone 50th career victory in her three years in Miami Shores.
Onila, the No. 7 ranked player in the country, battled through a 6-3, 6-3 straight sets win over No. 6-ranked Kochanova at the top flight to push the Bucs within a win of clinching. It was Onila’s seventh win over a ranked opponent this season and her 10th victory overall.
Twelker beat Fanchin, 6-2, 6-1, at No. 6 to wrap up Barry’s fifth straight region title. It was Twelker’s 13th victory of the season, and her sixth at the No. 6 spot.
Abanda trailed 3-2 in the first set, but won the next four games to take the opening set at No. 5. She led 4-3 in the second set when the match ended. Pain, who owns the No. 20 South Region singles ranking, overcame a first-set duel with Dikosavljevic at No. 4, prevailing 7-5. She was up 1-0 in the second set when Twelker clinched it. Ranked ninth in the country, Goia dropped the first set, 6-3, to the 47th-ranked Faure at No. 2, but led, 5-3, in the second when the match concluded.