ATLANTA -- Berry defeated Methodist 5-4 in an exciting NCAA championship first-round match.
Berry's Mary Cerny broke a 4-4 tie with a come-from-behind win at second singles, to lift BC past the Monarchs. The contest ended in dramatic fashion. Cerny's match point had to be moved indoors after a downpour hit the area.
With the win, Berry improved to 18-2 on the season. Methodist ended its campaign with a 22-3 ledger.
"I am very proud of the team, as usual," Berry head coach Clay Hightower said. "Methodist has a strong NCAA Division III tennis tradition and it took a great effort for us to come out on top. Despite considerable pressure, Mary Cerny really dug deep to win the deciding match and point."
The match started strong for Berry as the Vikings took two of three doubles matches. Cerny and Lauren Byrket took No. 2 by a score of 8-6. At the No. 3 slot, Kaleigh Carpenter and Heidi Seabaugh prevailed, 8-3. Caitlin Smith and Emma O'Reilly lost at No. 1 8-4.
In singles, the Vikings built a 4-2 lead after Seabaugh won at No. 6 6-2, 6-2, and Carpenter prevailed at No. 5 6-3, 6-0. At that point, BC needed just one more match victory.
Methodist, however, then got a win at No. 1 as Laura Baker bested O'Reilly by scores of 7-5 and 6-1 to cut the advantage to 4-3. The Monarchs then tied the match after Sam Munze edged Byrket 5-7, 7-5, 6-2.
The match pitted a pair of teams ranked in the Atlantic South Region, with the Monarchs checking in as the region's seventh-ranked squad, and Berry registering at 10th in the latest poll.
The contest then came down to the battle between Cerny and Isabella Graf at No. 2 singles. Cerny, a freshman, impressed by rallying from one set down to prevail.
Graf claimed the first set for Methodist in a tiebreaker 7-6 (4); Cerny battled back to win the second set 6-4, forcing a match-deciding third set. After Graf grabbed a 2-1 lead, Cerny won the next four games to take a 5-2 lead in the set. Graf won the next game, pushing the score to 5-3, but Cerny answered again -- reaching match point -- before play was halted and moved inside. A storm, which had been threatening throughout the match, moved play indoors. The move would prove to be for just one point, as Cerny finished off the contest, winning the set 6-3 and clinching the contest for Berry.