Florida International 4, Florida State 2

May 13, 2005

GAINESVILLE, Fla. * Florida International staved off a rallying Florida State squad to emerge with a 4-2 victory in the first round of the NCAA Womens Tennis Championships. The Panthers (19-5) face in the second round the winner of the Florida versus South Carolina State match on Saturday at 4 p.m. ET, at Linder Stadium at Ring Tennis Complex.

This is the second time in program history FIU has reached the round of 32 for the, also advancing in 2001. FIUs last NCAA appearance was in 2002, when the Panthers traveled to Gainesville and lost 4-2 to Miami in the opening round. Today marked FIUs second win this season over FSU, earning the 5-2 victory during the regular season after the Seminoles had won the doubles point.

On Friday, FIU won the closely contested doubles point and carried that momentum onto the singles court, where the Panthers won the first set in singles on four of the six courts, taking the early leads on courts No. 1, 4, 5 and 6.

We felt pretty good going into the singles after winning the doubles point, FIU head coach Ronnie Bernstein said. We also had a new team at no. 2 doubles, so that was a nice surprise that they were able to pull it out for us.

FIU jumped out to a 3-0 lead after winning the doubles point and earning singles victories on courts No. 5 and 6, where Marijana Cutuk topped Amberly Tantee 6-1, 6-2 and Bruna Discordia defeated Natalie Tirapelli 6-3, 6-3.

Lindsay Deason gave the Seminoles (11-12) their first team point with a 6-3, 6-3 decision against Nikkita Fountain on court No. 3, as FIU still held a 3-1 lead one hour and 17 minutes into singles play.

We really put the pressure on FSU because we only needed to win one of the remaining matches, Bernstein said. Were happy to get through today. Were definitely going to be the underdogs tomorrow so were just going to go for it.

We put up a good fight today, much better than we did during the regular season match when we lost to them 5-2, FSU head coach Jennifer Hyde said. We were at the tail end of our spring break trip so we were pretty tired entering that match. We knew today that we were much better prepared. We competed really hard today. We just came up short. We knew this was going to be a long match. FIU just didnt crack at all.

Roxanne Clarke appeared to be in control of her No. 2 singles match against Egle Petrauskaite, winning the first set 6-4 and holding a 5-3 lead. However, Petrauskaite dug deep and forced a third set, which was on serve through seven games before Petrauskaite earned a break to take a 5-3 lead, where she served out at love for the win to clinch the dual match for the Panthers. Clarke held double-break point in the seventh game, but Petrauskaite rallied to hold with a 4-3 lead.

On the No. 1 singles court, FSUs Mihaela Moldovan trailed 3-0 in the third set of her match against Paula Zabala before ripping off the final six games to earn the 1-6, 6-4, 6-3 victory in two hours and six minutes and giving the Seminoles their second point of the team competition.

After losing the first set 6-3, FSUs Tapiwa Marobela lost her serve in the eighth game of the second set to trail 5-3. However, the Seminole broke in ninth game to make the score 5-4 with the serve. She then jumped out to a 40-0 lead in 10th game en route to holding and evening the set at 5-all and kept FSUs hopes alive, as court No. 1 just split sets and No. 2 playing well and looking in control. Tapiwa then won the first three points off DArmas serve before earning the break to take the 6-5 lead. But DArmas broke right back to force a tiebreaker, which was played on-serve through the first 11 points, when Tapiwa earned the first and only mini-break to take the set and force a deciding third. Both competitors held to begin the final set, before DArmas earned the first break in the third game and held a 4-2 lead when play was abandoned.

Florida International won the doubles point for the 17th time this season, but needed to stave off an FSU rally on court No. 2 to take the 1-0 lead in the team scoring. The Panther pair of Egle Petrauskaite and Shilla DArmas, who were playing together for the first time, were serving with a 7-4 lead. However, the Seminole tandem of Roxanne Clarke and Amberly Tantee battled back, earning a break en route to tying the match at 7-all. But FIU broke right back in the 15th game to take an 8-7 lead and then held to clinch the doubles point, 9-7.

FSUs Mihaela Moldovan and Lindsay Deason, ranked no. 18 in the country, had little trouble with Nikkita Fountain and Paula Zabala on court No. 1, earning the first victory of the NCAA Championships for the Seminoles.

The contest on No. 3 was evenly matched, as FIUs pair of Bruna Discordia and Courtney Jonson continued to trade games with FSUs Tapiwa Marobela and Miranda Foley until the Panthers were serving, ahead 8-7, 40-0. But the Seminoles battled to force duce and turned away another match point before FIU finally clinched the match 9-7.

NCAA Womens Tennis Championships First Round
No. 33 Florida International vs. No. 43 Florida State
Linder Stadium at Ring Tennis Complex
Gainesville, Fla.

Friday, May 13, 2005

Final Score: Florida International 4, Florida State 2

No. 1 Mihaela Moldovan/Lindsay Deason (18), FSU def. Nikkita Fountain/Paula Zabala, FIU 8-2
No. 2 Egle Petrauskaite/Shilla DArmas, FIU def. Roxanne Clarke/Amberly Tantee, FSU 9-7*
No. 3 Bruna Discordia/Courtney Jonson, FIU def. Tapiwa Marobela/Miranda Foley, FSU 9-7

No. 1 Mihaela Moldovan (15), FSU def. Paula Zabala (60), FIU 1-6, 6-4, 6-3
No. 2 Egle Petrauskaite, FIU def. Roxane Clarke, FSU 4-6, 7-5, 6-3*
No. 3 Lindsay Deason, FSU def. Nikkita Fountain, FIU 6-3, 6-3
No. 4 Shilla DArmas, FIU led Tapiwa Marobela, FSU 6-3, 6-7 (5), 4-2 DNF
No. 5 Marijana Cutuk, FIU def. Amberly Tantee, FSU 6-1, 6-2
No. 6 Bruna Discordia, FIU def. Natalie Tirapelli, FSU 6-3, 6-3

Order of Finish: doubles-1, 3, 2; singles-5, 6, 3, 1, 2
*clinched doubles point/dual match

-- Courtesy Florida