Auburn Montgomery Takes Home Banner
MOBILE, Ala. - (Bracket) Third-seeded Auburn Montgomery (Ala.) overcame a 3-1 deficit to take down defending national champion and No. 1-seed Fresno Pacific (Calif.) on Saturday at the 2011 NAIA Women’s Tennis National Championship. The Lady Senators bounced back and defeated the Sunbirds, 5-3, by winning four-straight singles sets.
Since the team format began in 2000, Auburn Montgomery became the first team to win a title with just five players on its roster. Despite giving up two points by default at No. 6 singles and No. 3 doubles in each match of the tournament, head coach Rolando Vargas guided the program to its 11th overall championship. The Lady Senators have won seven of the past eight banners.
It was the first time that the Sunbirds had dropped a singles or doubles match throughout the entire event. The No. 2 doubles team of Yumiko Justin and Cristina Valladares led the Sunbirds to an 8-2 victory against Kvetka Hajkova and Morgane Zowczak. AUM’s Ana Veselinovic and Jade Curtis got the ball rolling with an 8-5 win at the No. 1 spot, forcing a split in the two doubles matches that were played.
Collecting the default singles and doubles point, the Sunbirds held on to a 3-1 advantage at the start of singles play. In dominating fashion, Ana Veselinovic recorded a 6-1, 6-1 victory over Sara Celma in No. 1 singles to bring the score to 3-2. Jade Curtis tied things up at three a piece with No. 2 singles win defeating Marie Boura, 6-3, 6-3. The Senators continued to grind it out in singles action as Kvetka Hajkova took down FPU’s Yumiko Justin, 6-3, 6-3. With leads on court three and five, Auburn Montgomery needed just one more win. AUM’s Zowczak battled it out at No. 3 singles with Valladares and with the match on the line, she won in the third set 6-2, 2-6, 7-5.
The Senators, who were ranked in the top-three of the NAIA Women’s Tennis Coaches’ Top 25 Poll the entire season, improved their National Championship record to a near-perfect 45-3 (.937) with the win. Fresno Pacific finishes the season with a 21-5 overall record.
Head coach Rolando Vargas, who guided the Senators to a 27-5 record for the year and a perfect 4-0 in National Championship play, was named the 2011 NAIA Women’s Tennis National Coach of the Year.
Auburn Montgomery No. 2 singles player Jade Curtis was given the Marvin P. Richmond Outstanding Player Award, which is presented to the individual at the tournament who exhibited outstanding play, leadership and sportsmanship.
Finals Match: Auburn Montgomery (Ala.) def. Fresno Pacific (Calif.), 5-3
No. 1 - Ana Veselinovic (AUM) def. Sara Celma (FPU), 6-1, 6-1
No. 2 - Jade Curtis (AUM) def. Marie Boura (FPU), 6-3, 6-3
No. 3 - Morgane Zowczak (AUM) def. Cristina Valladares (FPU), 6-2, 2-6, 7-5
No. 4 - Kvetka Hajkova (AUM) def. Yumiko Justin (FPU), 6-3, 6-3
No. 5 - Alina Tsepluhkova (AUM) vs. Erika Januskova (FPU), 6-3, 6-5 (unfinished)
No. 6 - Elizabeth McFeeters (FPU) won by default
No. 1 - Ana Veselinovic/Jade Curtis (AUM) def. Erika Januskova/Marie Boura (FPU), 8-5
No. 2 - Yumiko Justin/Cristina Valladares (FPU) def. Kvetka Hajkova/Morgane Zowczak (AUM), 8-2
No. 3 - Sara Celma/Elizabeth McFeeters (FPU) won by default