LAFAYETTE, La. (4/20/13) - Nationally ranked No. 60 North Texas defeated South Alabama in a thrilling 4-3 victory on Saturday afternoon to advance to the SBC Championship finals.
"Winning the doubles point was huge for us. Down 1-4, Dané and Ilona stepped up big for us," head coach Sujay Lama said. "Also, Barbora and Valentina played great."
North Texas jumped to an early lead winning doubles matches at the No. 1 and 3 positions. Dané Joubert and Ilona Serchenko battled back to defeat South Alabama's Cinta Maria Papke and Mary Angela Martin, 8-4, at the No. 3 doubles spot.
Senior duo Valentina Starkova and Barbora Vykydalova handed South Alabama's Emily Newton and Mchaela Meszarosova an 8-4 loss at the No. 1 doubles position.
"We knew South Alabama was going to be a tough out in singles." Lama added. "There were several momentum swings but the key for us was Franziska coming through for us. That gave us a huge lift and Kseniya was able to ride that wave."
The Mean Green dropped matches at the No. 3 and 6 positions to give South Alabama a 2-1 lead.
Franziska Sprinkmeyer defeated Ramona Ghermani in straight sets, 6-3, 6-4, at the No. 4 position to give the momentum back to North Texas.
Kseniya Bardabush picked up a 6-0, 3-6, 6-2 victory over South Alabama's Meszarosova at the No. 1 singles position to give the Mean Green a 3-2 lead.
Serchenko fell at the No. 5 singles spot to bring the score to 3-3 with the No. 2 singles match still playing.
"Once the match came down to Barbora, we knew we could count on her," Lama said about his team captain. "This is her year, her team. She has been in this position many times and she delivered once again."
Team captain Vykydalova won a dramatic three-set match against Mariya Krachok to clinch the 4-3 win for North Texas.
"We are excited to have the opportunity to compete for the Championship," Lama said. "The key for us is staying in the present moment, enjoying every minute together and competing the way we are capable of. "
The Mean Green will take on No. 2 seed Georgia State for the SBC title on Sunday at 10 a.m. at the Cajun Courts.
No. 1 North Texas 4, No. 4 South Alabama 3
April 20, 2013
1.>Kseniya Bardabush (NT) def. Mchaela Meszarosova (South Alabama) 6-0, 3-6, 6-2
2. Barbora Vykydalova (NT) def. Mariya Krachok (South Alabama) 6-3, 2-6, 6-4
3. Emily Newton (South Alabama) def. Valentina Starkova (NT) 6-3, 6-1
4. Franziska Sprinkmeyer (NT) def. Ramona Ghermani (South Alabama) 6-3, 6-4
5. Mary Angela Martin (South Alabama) def. Ilona Serchenko (NT) 6-3, 7-6
6. Cinta Maria Papke (South Alabama) def. Agustina Valenzuela (NT) 6-3, 6-4
1. Starkova/Vykydalova (NT) def. Emily Newton/Mchaela Meszarosova (South Alabama) 8-4
2. Bardabush/Sprinkmeyer (NT) Mariya Krachok/Ramona Ghermani (South Alabama) 4-7, unfinished
3. Joubert/Serchenko (NT) def. Cinta Maria Papke/Mary Angela Martin (South Alabama) 8-4
North Texas: 17-5
South Alabama: 16-10
Order of Finish
Doubles: 1, 2
Singles: 3, 6, 4, 1, 5, 2