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Northeastern State Athletics | May 4, 2014

Northeastern St. ends Augustana (S.D.)'s run

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. -- Northeastern State defeated Augustana (S.D.) 5-3 on Sunday afternoon to win the 2014 NCAA Division II Central Region No. 2 championship at the Huether Tennis Centre.

The RiverHawks (23-5) advanced to the NCAA championship Round of 16 for the second consecutive year. NSU is set to take on No. 12 California (Pa) (14-2) at 8 a.m. ET May 14 at Sanlando Park in Altamonte Springs, Fla.

The Vikings (25-2) saw a 16-match win streak snapped as the team suffered just its second loss this year. This was the first time all season it was facing a team ranked inside the top five of a region ranking. Northeastern State is currently the top-ranked team in the Central Region.

Augustana was making its fifth consecutive appearance in the NCAA regional event, but the Vikings fell to 1-5 in the tournament against opponents not from the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference.

The RiverHawks got started early by winning the first two points of the match. The newly formed team of senior Houda Bellamine and sophomore Lucia Cerchlanova defeated Jenna Helleberg and Meredith Lawrence 8-5 on the third doubles court.

Junior Barbora Jirickova and sophomore Kristina Savchenkov followed with an 8-6 triumph against Christine Olivo and Heather Sullivan at No. 2 doubles. Augie got on the board when Katie Jesperson and Jessa Richards topped Martina Bruzikova and freshman Valeriia Efimenko 8-6 on the first doubles court.

The Vikings tied the match at 2-2 when Lawrence kicked off singles action with a 6-2, 6-1 victory against Cerchlanova on the sixth court.

Augustana pulled ahead when Richards defeated Bellamine 6-2, 6-1 at No. 2 singles, but Northeastern State took the last three decisions to clinch the team victory. Efimenko breezed past Olivo 6-1, 6-3 at the fourth position, and Jirickova dropped just two games in a 6-2, 6-0 victory versus Helleberg on the fifth court.

Bruzikova clinched the match when she defeated Francesca Beg 6-4, 6-1 on the third court. The final match went unfinished, but Savchenkov was just three points away from defeating Jesperson at the top singles flight.