Clarksville, TN – In the long history of the Austin Peay State University (APSU) athletic department there have been many successes, wins, unforgettable memories, moments and championships over its many decades of competition, but this past Saturday at the Governors Tennis Center the women’s tennis team recorded the rarest or rare accomplishments by an APSU squad –an undefeated regular season.
The Governors finished the 2019 regular season 20-0, matching the only other undefeated APSU team in school history – the 1939-40 men’s basketball team – who also finished their season 20-0, including recording the program’s only victory versus Vanderbilt.
Two undefeated teams in 79 years, in a word … historic.
And to add another layer to just how amazing this season was for the Govs, the only other team in the NCAA Division I level that was undefeated entering the weekend – No. 1 Georgia – fell to South Carolina in the finals of the Southeastern Conference Tournament Sunday afternoon leaving Austin Peay as the only undefeated team in the nation.
Now it was no surprise that this year’s team would do well, as they were picked as co-favorites to win the OVC regular-season title – along with Murray State – in the conference’s pre-season pole after reaching the finals of the OVC Championship Tournament in 2018 versus Eastern Kentucky and being edged out for the title and a berth into the NCAA Tournament, 4-3.
If that weren’t enough, they also returned the three-time defending OVC Player of the Year Lidia Yanes Garcia, her sister Claudia Yanes Garcia – a two-time First-Team All-OVC selection – Fabienne Schmidt (OVC Freshman of the Year/All-OVC First-Team), Helena Kuppig, an All-OVC Second-Team pick in 2018 and Ana Albertson.
Now throw Tatiana Lopez (a junior transfer from the University of Kansas) and freshmen Danielle Morris (Australia) and Honoka Nakanishi (Japan) and you have eight pieces that has the ability to win up-and-down the lineup, from No.1 singles through No. 6, while also being almost automatic in winning the doubles point in matches – something that has been a question mark at times in the past for the Govs, but not this season.
If you look deeper into their schedule this season you see this group of eight players hasn’t let off the gas at any point this season, with 13 of their 20 victories coming by way of a shutout, while only three time have they been pushed to a slim 4-3 victory versus an opponent.
Next up for Austin Peay will be the OVC Women’s Tennis Championship Tournament at the Centennial Sportsplex in Nashville, TN, April 26th-28th, with Govs earning a first-round bye at the tournament’s top-seed.
The Governors open play, 10:00am, Saturday April 27th versus the winner of the first-round match between No.4-seed Belmont and No.5-seed Southeast Missouri, while the OVC Championship match is scheduled for, 10:00am, Sunday April 28th, with a berth into the NCAA Championship Tournament on the line.