LOUISVILLE, Ky. – After a one-year absence, No. 3-ranked Armstrong Atlantic State is back into the NCAA DII Women’s Tennis National Championship match after a 5-2 win against No. 2 Barry on Friday morning at the Top Gun Tennis Academy in Louisville.
The Pirates (28-0) won a battle of unbeatens in knocking off the defending champion Bucs (26-1) in a rematch of last year’s semifinal match won by Barry. Top-ranked and undefeated BYU-Hawaii awaits the Pirates after the Seasiders won 5-0 against Abilene Christian in the other semifinal match.
Armstrong opened up quickly in doubles, jumping out to big leads in all three matches. No. 2-ranked Aleksandra Filipovski and Barbora Krtickova knocked off No. 15-ranked Mona Mansour and Cristina Valladares 8-4 at No. 1 doubles, then No. 11-ranked Marlen Hacke and Olga Kalodzitsa closed out Olivia Matuszak and Julie Stas 8-4 at No. 2 doubles.
No. 17-ranked Kathleen Henry and Clara Perez closed out the doubles sweep with an 8-6 win against Linda Fritschken and Caroline Wendling at No. 3 doubles.
In singles, Barry took four of the first six first sets. Armstrong, however, put a quick fourth point on the board when No. 2-ranked Krtickova defeated No. 12-ranked Valladares, 6-2, 6-0, at No. 1 singles.
The key point in the match came at No. 6 singles when No. 30-ranked Perez found herself trailing 5-4, in the first set but won six consecutive games, taking a 7-5, 3-0 lead in the second set.
Barry, meanwhile, closed out a couple of singles wins as Matuszak defeated No. 20-ranked Henry, 6-2, 6-1, at No. 4 singles and No. 46 Stas defeated No. 17-ranked Kalodzitsa, 6-3, 6-4, at No. 3 singles.
With the Pirates rallying in the other three matches, Perez closed out Wendling 6-3 in the second set, clinching the match for a second consecutive day in the NCAA Championships for the PBC’s Freshman of the Year.