Abilene Christian beats Tarleton, back in Round of 16 for 18th consecutive year
ABILENE, Texas -- Abilene Christian punched its ticket for next week's NCAA Championship in Surprise, Ariz., following a 5-0 victory against Tarleton State in the South Central Region I final Monday at the Eager Tennis Pavilion.
The win gives ACU its 26th regional title and sends the Wildcats to the Division II national tournament for the 18th consecutive year.
ACU -- ranked No. 5 in the country behind an overall record of 27-5 -- will open play in the national tournament on May 8 when it takes on No. 6 Columbus State in the Round of 16. A win there would send ACU into the quarterfinals against an opponent to be determined.
Last year's team reached the national semifinals after beating Indiana (Pa.) 5-0 and Lynn, 5-1.
The Wildcats today quickly swept the TexAnns in doubles before receiving a pair of straight-set singles victories from senior Laura Mongin and freshman Kaysie Hermsdorf. Mongin was first off the courts after shutting out Ivana Zecevic at No. 4, 6-0, 6-0, and Hermsdorf clinched the team victory with her 6-1, 6-1 decision at No. 6 over Silvia Nieva-Garcia.
Mongin and Hermsdorf also won together at No. 3 doubles, which gave ACU a commanding 3-0 lead heading into singles. They beat the tandem of Makenzie Mitchell and Marina Rull, 8-3.
Earlier, the No. 5 team of Julia Mongin and Brittney Reed whipped No. 25 Alicia Perez and Karla Martinez-Hamda, 8-1, and at No. 2 doubles, ACU's 14th-ranked duo of Micah Hermsdorf and Hannah Kelley defeated Melanie Barnes and Zecevic, 8-2.
ACU's three doubles pairings share a combined record of 39-5 (.886). Laura Mongin and Kaysie Hermsdorf are undefeated at 10-0. Micah Hermsdorf and Kelley have won their last 12 to improve to 17-3, while Reed and Julia Mongin are an impressive 12-2 at the No. 1 position.
Elsewhere in singles, ACU won all six of its first sets and were leading two of four second sets when the match was stopped.
Julia Mongin, Micah Hermsdorf and Kelley all won their first sets by a score of 6-4, while Reed beat Barnes, 6-1, at No. 3 and was up 2-0 in the second.
ACU's combined singles record is 130-45 (.743). Kaysie Hermsdorf reached a team-best 20 wins today and Laura Mongin improved to 18-5. All nine of this year's players have won 11 or more singles matches.
Monday's triumph extended the Wildcats' season-best winning streak to 14 and shutout streak to four matches. ACU also finished its year 8-0 against Lone Star Conference teams and 12-0 vs. regional foes.