WACO, Texas -The No. 46 Stephen F. Austin Ladyjack tennis team saw its historical season come to an end on Friday, falling 4-0 to No. 25 Tulsa in the first round of the NCAA Tournament at the Hurd Tennis Center on the campus of Baylor University.
SFA (23-5) had to play from behind after dropping just its second doubles point of the season, but made a run at the Golden Hurricane (23-3) in singles play with four of the six singles matches being stretched to the third set.
"We fought hard today, but Tulsa was just a little too much for us," SFA head coach Patrick Sullivan said. "They are a well-coached and very poised team with several seniors playing in their fourth NCAA Tournament and that showed at key moments in hte match."
The Ladyjacks had not dropped a doubles point since the second match of the season vs Illinois, but fell at both No. 1 and No. 3 doubles despite trailing just 6-5 at the No. 2 spot. The duo of Tereza Bekerova and Malena Gordo succumbed, 8-4, to the nation's No. 68 doubles tandem of Ewa Szatkowska and Anastasia Erofeeva after Michelle Farley and Maria Sant'Anna had taken care of Elena Kordolaimiand Laura Service, also 8-4 at the No. 3 spot to score the point.
But SFA then rallied to make things close in singles play as Gordo, Jithme Jayawickrema and Julia Lorcawere all in the midst of the third set in each of their matches before Szatkowska, ranked No. 64 in the nation, finished off Alina Shazkho in three sets to clinch the match and send the Golden Hurricane to the second round.
Tulsa got points at No. 1, 2, and three singles, with Isaura Enrique scoring first at the No. 3 spot (6-2, 6-3) over Bekerova. Erofeeva, ranked No. 49 in the country, followed with a (7-5, 6-3) win over Kordolaimi. That negated the final three SFA chances to score with Lorca leading her No. 6 match and both Jayawickrema and Gordo trailing by a single game.
"I'm proud of my team and our effort today and all season long," Sullivan said. "We have a lot to be proud of and a lot to build on. Soon enough SFA will be the tough veteran team on the other end of this match."