May 16, 2012
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MOBILE, Ala. – A first-round bye did little to affect the majority of the top eight seeds in the second round of the 2012 NAIA Women’s Tennis National Championships in Mobile, Ala. Teams seeded Nos. 1 through 4 all cruised to 5-0 victories to advance to Thursday’s quarterfinals.
“It’s kind of nerve-wracking to play your first match against a team that’s already played,” Oklahoma Christian head coach Kris Miller said. “But we came out and played well in doubles. We got up 3-0 (on SCAD Savannah) and that set the tone for the day. We were playing well on all six courts in singles.”
The only surprise of the day came at match No. 14 of the tournament, where 11th-seeded Lindsey Wilson (Ky.) upset No. 6 Point Loma Nazarene (Calif.). The Blue Raiders took two of three doubles matches and then triumphed at No. 1, 3 and 4 singles to clinch a spot in the quarterfinals.
“I can’t say enough about how proud I am of our girls,” Lindsey Wilson head coach Daniel Finn said. “They fought with so much heart today. No. 2, No. 1 doubles – didn’t even break a serve today. Going up 2-1 after doubles, our girls came out playing even harder.
“Point Loma is a great team. They wouldn’t go quietly. I’m very, very proud of our girls.”
The Blue Raiders again leaned on star Trina Slapeka, who looked sharp in blowing by Maika Adair, 6-0, 6-1, at No. 1 singles after teaming with Slavica Milanovic for an 8-4 win at No. 1 doubles.
“Obviously you have to bring up Trina Slapeka,” Finn said. “She played unreal again. She’s a very solid player. We’re lucky to have her.”
Top-seeded Auburn Montgomery (Ala.), winner of seven of the last eight national titles, asserted itself as the favorite with another dominant outing on Wednesday. The Warhawks began the day by sweeping 16th-seeded Vanguard (Calif.) in doubles by scores of 8-4, 8-6 and 8-0. Auburn Montgomery’s Nos. 5 and 6 singles players, Kveta Hajkova and Hagar Caro, finished the match off with wins of 6-0, 6-0 and 6-2, 6-0, respectively.
No. 2-seeded Fresno Pacific (Calif.) looked every bit as impressive in an efficient 5-0 victory over No. 15 Indiana Wesleyan. The Sunbirds won 8-0 in both Nos. 1 and 2 doubles, while taking No. 3 doubles, 8-5. In the only two singles matches that finished, Marie Boura triumphed 6-0, 6-1 at No. 2 singles and Erika Januskova came out on top in all 12 games at No. 4 singles.
“It’s hard to know what to expect the first day,” Fresno Pacific head coach Neil Castro said. “I felt like we’d been working hard the last couple days, playing a lot of tennis. I expected us to play well and we’re getting healthy at the right time. I didn’t know the girls would play that well the first day, but it was nice.”
The Sunbirds, looking to capture the title for the first time since 2010, will play seventh-seeded Brenau (Ga.) on Thursday in the quarterfinals. Auburn Montgomery draws No. 8 Concordia (Calif.) in the round of eight. Concordia got past No. 9 William Carey (Miss.), 5-2.
In other action, fifth-seeded Azusa Pacific (Calif.) was challenged by No. 12 Shorter (Ga.), but came away with a 5-2 win, fueled by victories at Nos. 2 and 3 doubles. Finally, Brenau and third-seeded Embry-Riddle (Fla.) moved on to the final eight with 5-0 triumphs.
The quarterfinals of the 2012 NAIA Women’s Tennis National Championships commence at 9 a.m. on Thursday. Lindsey Wilson will look to continue its Cinderella run as it takes on Embry-Riddle. Oklahoma Christian will play Azusa Pacific.