In a long awaited mid-season dual that brought together two perennial D-II powerhouse programs, the fourth-ranked Buccaneers of Barry University outlasted No. 3 Abilene Christian, 6-3, on a blustery Wednesday afternoon at the Eager Tennis Pavilion.
Barry, which was a 2012 national semifinalist along with ACU, remains undefeated at 10-0 following today's win, while the Wildcats slipped to 8-3.
At one point late in singles, there was a sense on the Wildcats' sideline that they'd somehow prevail with a 5-4 victory. No. 32 had just cut the Barry lead to 4-3, after beating Elisabeth Abanda, 7-5, 7-6 (3) at No. 2, and on the other side of the courts, senior was finishing a second-set comeback that tied her match at No. 6.
And at No. 1, third-ranked senior was in the midst of a back-and-forth battle with No. 19 Linda Fritschken, who had one the first set, 6-3, but was down to start the second, 3-2.
But not long after Hermsdorf exited the courts victorious, Fritschken rallied to win four of the last six points to win 6-3, 6-4 and clinch the match for Barry, while Kelley subsequently lost her final set, 6-3, to Akemi Maehama.
“I thought we responded well to being down and really put ourselves in a good position to win, but Barry's player settled down and finished us off,” said head coach . “Barry didn't surprise me. They never have a down year and I knew they were going to bring some high quality athletes. We're going to play several more teams (Fresno Pacific, Hawaii Pacific and Armstrong Atlantic) just like them next week and we're not going to win if we don't play better than today.”
ACU started the match by losing two of three doubles matches for only the second time all season and were ultimately saved from a sweep by its No. 3 team of and , which beat the duo of Isabela Miro and Karina Goia, 9-8 (9).
Mongin and Hermsdorf held an early 3-2 lead, but then lost four of the next five points to go down 6-4. They came all the way back to take a 7-6 lead but were eventually forced into a tiebreak.
The tiebreaker also contained some major swings as the Wildcats came all the back from a 5-1 deficit to tie the score at 6-6. Afterwards, the two sides exchanged the next six points before Mongin and Hermsdorf finally won two straight to close out their 90-minute match.
Unfortunately, ACU's nationally ranked No. 1 and 2 combination both lost. Fifth-ranked and fell, 8-1, to Abanda and Emma Onila, while 14th-ranked and Kelley dropped an 8-5 decision to Fritschken and Kimmy Twelker.
After losing two straight points that cut their lead to 6-5, Fritschken and Twelker broke ACU's serve on the following possession to go back up by two and used that momentum shift to claim the eighth and final point.
“I wish our doubles today resembled what we did at Kentucky,” said Jones. “I wanted our attitude to be more tough, aggressive, like we owned the place, but we didn't get out of the gate as fast as we should have … I know you learn more from losing, but I'd take the win every time. And it's tough to take a loss, knowing you could have won.”
earned ACU's first point in singles, beating Twelker in straight sets, 6-3, 6-3. Mongin has won seven straight matches and currently leads the team with eight wins.
ACU returns to the court this weekend for a pair of conference matches at Texas A&M-Kingsville and Incarnate Word.
#4 Barry 6, #3 Abilene Christian 3
03/06/2013 at Abilene, Texas (Eager Tennis Pavilion)
1. #19 Linda Fritschken (BUW) def. #3 (ACUW) 6-3, 6-4
2. #32 (ACUW) def. Elisabeth Abanda (BUW) 7-5, 7-6 (7-3)
3. Emma Onila (BUW) def. (ACUW) 6-0, 6-0
4. (ACUW) def. Kimmy Twelker (BUW) 6-3, 6-3
5. Karina Goia (BUW) def. (ACUW) 6-3, 6-1
6. Akemi Maehama (BUW) def. (ACUW) 6-2, 4-6, 6-3
1. Elisabeth Abanda/Emma Onila (BUW) def. #5 / (ACUW) 8-1
2. Linda Fritschken/Kimmy Twelker (BUW) def. #14 / (ACUW) 8-5
3. / (ACUW) def. Isabela Miro/Karina Goia (BUW) 9-8 (11-9)
Barry 11-0; National ranking #4
Abilene Christian 8-3; National ranking #3
Order of finish: Doubles (1,2,3); Singles (3,5,4,2,1,6)
Information provided by ACU athletics department.