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Women’s Tennis: Cajuns Drop Hard Fought Match To Nicholls In Home Finale

 

 

LAFAYETTE – Freshman Kelly Drew rallied from a 5-2 deficit in the deciding third set to pull out a win on the top singles court, but Nicholls State was too much on Tuesday, handing the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns a 6-1 loss at Cajun Courts.
 
Drew moved her record to 9-3 in her true freshman season for the Ragin’ Cajuns (3-14), winning her third match in her last four tries and her second at No. 1 singles. Still, she had to work to garner the win after the Colonels’ (14-4) Stephanie Barnett rallied from being down 5-2 in the second set to force a decisive third set. But Drew outlasted Nicholls’ top player with a rally of her own in the third, claiming the final five games and snagging the win (6-2, 6-7, 7-5).
 
"That was a huge win for Kelly," head coach Greg Harkins said. "She had a chance to win it in straight sets, but had to go to a third (set) against a very good player who’s been ranked in the (ITA) national rankings. She found a way to battle back in the third set, earn an impressive win and build on a successful freshman season."
 
But that would be the only point the Cajuns would nab against Nicholls, which boasted the best overall record in the Southland Conference this season entering the match. With the Ragin’ Cajuns honoring senior Nelo Phiri prior to the match, UL nearly opened itself up to a 1-0 lead in doubles play after Alexandra Way and Abby Johnson took down Milou Pietersz and Marie Aubert (8-5) on the No. 2 court.
 
But the Colonels’ duo of Barnett and Klara Skopac claimed the final three games from Phiri and Elena Sava to steal the No. 1 doubles match (8-6) before Kateryna Nakonechna and Isla Brock withstood a late rally from Drew and Lauren Dupuis at No. 3 (8-5) to clinch the doubles point.
 
In singles play, the Cajuns stretched Nicholls to three sets at both No. 2 and No. 5, but were unable to salvage any points, aside from Drew. Phiri held an early lead in No. 2 singles after taking the first set from Skopac before the Colonels’ No. 2 player came back to take the point (5-7, 6-1, 6-4).
 
Johnson also managed to take the first set from Nakonechna before dropping the final two sets (5-7, 6-3, 6-3) on the No. 5 court. At No. 4, Way dropped a hard-fought 7-6, 6-4 decision to Pietersz.
 
"Our girls fought hard today against a very good Nicholls State team," Harkins said. "Our competition has been tough all season, but our team continues to play hard and they have had a great attitude on the court."
 
The match wrapped up the home schedule for Louisiana with five regular-season matches remaining before the Sun Belt Conference Tournament. The Cajuns will now head to Arlington, Texas, for three straight days of conference pod play, beginning Thursday at 11 a.m. against UT Arlington. A match with Texas State will follow a day later at 2 p.m., with the weekend concluding on Saturday morning at 11 against Arkansas State.
 
Tennis Match Results
Nicholls State vs. Louisiana
March 31, 2015 at Lafayette, La.
 
Nicholls State 6, Louisiana 1
Singles competition

1. Kelly Drew (UL) def. Stephanie Barnett (NICH) 6-2, 6-7, 7-5
2. Klara Skopac (NICH) def. Nelo Phiri (UL) 5-7, 6-1, 6-4
3. Marie Aubert (NICH) def. Elena Sava (UL) 6-1, 6-4
4. Milou Pietersz (NICH) def. Alexandra Way (UL) 7-6, 6-4
5. Kateryna Nakonechna (NICH) def. Abby Johnson (UL) 5-7, 6-3, 6-3
6. Isla Brock (NICH) def. Lauren Dupuis (UL) 6-1, 6-0
 
Doubles competition
1. Stephanie Barnett/Klara Skopac (NICH) def. Nelo Phiri /Elena Sava (UL) 8-6
2. Alexandra Way /Abby Johnson (UL) def. Milou Pietersz/Marie Aubert (NICH) 8-5
3. Kateryna Nakonechna/Isla Brock (NICH) def. Kelly Drew /Lauren Dupuis (UL) 8-5
 
Match Notes:
Nicholls State 14-4
Louisiana 3-14
Order of finish: Doubles (2, 1, 3); Singles (6, 3, 4, 1, 2, 5)