APSU Women’s Tennis
Paducah, KY – A challenging season came to an end when Austin Peay State University women’s tennis team dropped a 4-0 Ohio Valley Conference Tournament semifinal match to Jacksonville State, Saturday, at the Larry J. Heflin Tennis Complex.
Entering the season as defending champions placed lofty expectations on a Lady Govs team that was comprised of two returning starters and four freshmen to fill out the lineup. It was lack of depth that led to its undoing as a late-season ankle injury to freshman Rachel Margolies dismantled an already disjointed lineup just prior to the OVC Tournament.
Nevertheless, the Lady Govs (9-11) got a three-set win from freshman Kimberly Loo, Friday, to beat Murray State and advance. Saturday, however, was a different story against No. 2 seed Jacksonville State.
As if the blistery cold and swirling wind wasn’t enough, the Lady Govs stumbled to a rough doubles start. Having to forfeit No. 3 doubles meant Austin Peay had to win the top two in order to take the point. While sophomore Carolin Weikard and Loo methodically worked a lead at No. 1 doubles, junior Vanja Tomic and freshman Andra Cornea weren’t so fortunate at No. 2, losing 8-2.
“We came out real flat in doubles,” head coach Malik Tabet said. “We didn’t have the momentum or intensity that we showed yesterday. It hurt us because we had to win that point if we wanted to win the match.”
The singles competition wasn’t the blow-out indicated by the final score. Having to forfeit No. 6 singles gave JSU a two-point lead, allowing the Lady Govs little margin for error. Senior Brittany Hays lost a straight-set match at No. 6 doubles while the rest of the team battled.
Tomic split the first two sets at No. 1, as did Cornea at No. 3. Loo, meanwhile won the first set at No. 4 and was leading the second. But Weikard was unable to match Martina Dessbesell at No. 2, which turned out to be the Gamecocks’ finish punch.
“Carolin just ran into a good player,” Tabet said. “Her opponent did not give away any points; she kept the ball in and made very few unforced errors. It’s unfortunate that ended the way it did.”
Although the ending was not storybook for the defending champs, it may have been then necessary spark to leave the Lady Govs hungry for 2012. The Lady Govs will be returning a pair of two-time first-team All-OVC picks in Tomic and Weikard, as well as three battle-tested freshmen in Loo, Cornea and Margolies.
Jacksonville State, meanwhile, advances to face UT Martin in the tournament championship, Sunday.