University of South Alabama Team Page
NEW ORLEANS – Top-seeded Georgia State won the doubles point and took two of their three singles victories in straight sets to defeat the University of South Alabama women's tennis team 4-1 and claim the 2014 Sun Belt Conference Championship Sunday at City Park Tennis Center.
The Panthers, ranked No. 66 by the ITA, earn the conference's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament and improve to 12-8 on the season. The Jaguars end their year with a 16-3 mark.
"This was a tough way to end a great season," USA head coach Jaco Keyser said. "Georgia State played a great match. I thought we competed really hard but played a little tentative in doubles and dug ourselves a hole. This one will definitely sting because this has been such a great group who did everything I asked from them."
Georgia State took the doubles point on the strength of two nationally-ranked teams. No. 20 Abigail Tere-Apisah and Masa Grgan struck first with an 8-2 win at No. 1 over junior Emily Newton (Dothan, Ala.) and freshman Laura Matuskova (Bratislava, Slovakia). GSU later broke a 1-1 tie at No. 2 when No. 95 Marcia Tere-Apisah and Tarani Kamoe topped sophomore Michaela Meszarosova (Bratislava, Slovakia) and freshman Monica Mitta (Fairhope, Ala.) 8-6.
The Tere-Apisah sisters combined to put GSU up 3-0 with a pair of straight-sets victories. Abigail, ranked No. 20 in the nation in singles, lost just one game in a 6-1, 6-0 win at No. 1 over Meszarosova, and Marcia handed Mitta just her second defeat of the spring, 6-3, 6-3 at No. 4.
Freshman Laura Valkova (Piestany, Slovakia) staved off elimination at No. 2, downing Grgan 6-4, 6-3, but the Panthers' Linn Timmerman rallied from a first-set loss to finish off Newton and the Jaguars on the No. 3 court, 3-6, 6-1, 6-3.
The Jaguars' 16-3 record is the program's second-best since 1980 and third-best ever, and the team reached the finals of the SBC Championships for the first time since 2007.
"In the big picture, we are moving forward," Keyser said. "I am excited with our team identity and culture, and the fact that these girls care about Jaguar tennis. We will get absorb this one and use it as motivation to come back a better team next year."
For more information about South Alabama athletics, check back with www.usajaguars.com, and follow the Jaguars at www.twitter.com/USAJaguarSports. Season tickets for all Jaguar athletic events can be purchased by calling (251) 461-1USA (1872).