Armstrong Atlantic never trails to down Barry 5-3 in NCAA quarterfinals
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Defending NCAA Division II national champion Armstrong Atlantic State upended No. 1 Barry 5-3 in the NCAA Division II Women's Tennis quarterfinals on Thursday in a four-plus hour marathon match to earn a berth into the semifinals at the Surprise Racquet & Tennis Complex.
The matchup between the last five winners of the DII national title did not disappoint, much like the regular-season matchup between the two teams that went to Barry 5-4. That was the only loss of the season for Armstrong (28-1) and Barry (27-1) ran the table in the regular season, heading into Thursday's contest unbeaten.
Armstrong took a quick advantage in doubles play as the No. 5-ranked duo of Marlen Hacke and Olga Kalodzitsa beat Linda Fritschken and Kimmy Twelker 8-1 at No. 2 doubles. Barry claimed an 8-4 win at No. 3 doubles with Karina Goia and Isabela Miro downing Clara Perez and Natasa Vukovic 8-4 at No. 3 doubles. The pivotal No. 1 doubles match went to the No. 2-ranked duo of Aleksandra Filipovski and Barbora Krtickova of the Pirates, winning 8-6 against No. 8-ranked Elizabeth Abanda and Emma Onila.
Singles play saw each team take the first set in three singles matches. Armstrong struck first in singles with a 6-2, 6-2 win by Filipovski at No. 1 singles against No. 22-ranked Abanda. Barry got its first singles point with Fritschken's 6-0, 2-6, 6-2 upset of No. 13-ranked Krtickova at No. 3 singles.
No. 8-ranked Perez' 6-4, 6-4 win against No. 30-ranked Onila brought the Pirates to within one point of clinching the match. Barry picked up a 7-5, 3-6, 6-1 win at No. 6 singles with Miro besting Vukovic, leaving two players left out on the court to settle the match.
No. 17-ranked Hacke split sets at No. 4 singles with Goia 6-2, 4-6, then built a 5-1 lead in the third set, only to see Goia battle back to tie the set at five. Meanwhile, No. 27 Kalodzitsa rallied in her No. 5 singles match to split sets 5-7, 7-5, and held a 3-0 lead in the third set when Hacke finally finished off Goia 7-5 in the third set to clinch the victory.
Armstrong heads to the semifinals now for the 10th consecutive year. The Pirates have captured five NCAA Division II national championships in that stretch (2005, 2008-10, 2012) and finished runner-up two times (2004, 2006) with third-place finishes in 2007 and 2011.
The Pirates will face Hawaii Pacific -- 5-1 winners versus Southwest Baptist -- in a semifinal match on Friday. The other semifinal pits BYU Hawaii against Abilene Christian.