March 13, 2011
Boca Raton, Fla. - The Florida Atlantic University women's tennis players put together a total team effort to down Sun Belt Conference rival Troy University, 4-3, on Sunday afternoon at Patch Reef Park in Boca Raton. The victory extends the Owls' winning streak to four matches and improved the team's record to 6-9 on the season.
"We were able to finally play the kind of tennis I know the team is capable of playing," said Marcy Hora-Cava, FAU's head women's tennis coach. "This was a good win for us. We beat a team that has finished above us in the conference the last couple of years."
FAU got off to a quick start by winning the match's doubles point to grab an early 1-0 lead. The tandem of Justine Humair and Marlene Ryan pulled out an 8-6 victory at the No. 2 position to give the Owls the opening point. The duo of Cassie Bergeson and Natasha Phillips won 8-1 at No. 3 over the Trojans.
"Winning the doubles point was critical because it gave us the confidence for singles play," noted Hora-Cava.
In singles, the Owls won the first set in four of the six matches to keep momentum in the match.
Phillips cruised to a straight-set victory over Olivia Battye at No. 6 singles (6-3, 6-0) to give FAU a 2-0 advantage. The sophomore improved to 10-4 on the season, including a 7-3 mark in matches at the No. 6 position.
Ryan put the team on the verge of the victory with a 6-2, 6-4 triumph over Olfa Dhaoui at No. 2 singles. The sophomore from Delray Beach leads the team with 12 victories this spring.
"I got back to being consistent and playing my game," said Ryan. "It feels good to be involved in the clinching match for doubles and help the team pick up the victory over a conference team."
Later, FAU was leading 3-2 and the focus of the match turned to Erika Mrazkova's No. 5 singles match. The junior responded by winning a hard-fought match over Rossura Ramirez-Vega in straight sets. Mrazkova won the opening set 6-4 then battled back from trailing in the second set to force a tiebreaker. Tied at seven points in the tiebreaker, Mrazkova stepped up with the biggest point of the match by ripping an ace to turn up the heat on Ramirez-Vega. Mrazkova would clinch the match with another strong forehand to give the Owls the deciding fourth team point.
"I was setting up the serve during the entire tiebreaker," noted Mrazkova. "I wanted to make a statement and really went for the ace. When I hit it, I knew that it was going to change the match in my favor. I'm glad to win this for the team." Mrazkova also played a vital role in FAU's 4-3 victory last season over Middle Tennessee State University, another Sun Belt Conference opponent.
"Erika gets into a lot of long rallies. So, close matches always come down to her," said Hora-Cava. "She has struggled this season, but I strongly believe she has turned the corner with this match."
Mrazkova added: "I kept telling myself that I could do it. The way the match played out, it came down to my match once again. Two weeks ago, I lost to Louisiana-Lafayette on that same court. I didn't want that to happen again." The Owls will return to the court on Monday, March 14, when it battles the University of Massachusetts, beginning at 2 p.m.
Florida Atlantic 4, Troy 3
No. 1 Karoline Grymel (TROY) def. Justine Humair (FAU) 6-3, 6-7 (5), 6-3
No. 2 Marlene Ryan (FAU) def. Olfa Dhaoui (TROY) 6-2, 6-4
No. 3 Leonie Guilt (TROY) def. Natasha Basma (FAU) 3-6, 6-3, 6-2
No. 4 Lyubov Dorofeeva (TROY) def. Virginia Augustin (FAU) 6-1, 6-2
No. 5 Erika Mrazkova (FAU) def. Rossura Ramirez-Vega (TROY) 6-4, 7-6 (7)
No. 6 Natasha Phillips (FAU) def. Olivia Battye (TROY) 6-0, 6-3
No. 1 Guilt/Grymel (TROY) def. Basma/Mrazkova (FAU) 8-2
No. 2 Humair/Ryan (FAU) def. Ramirez-Vega/Dhaoui (TROY) 8-6
No. 3 Cassie Bergeson/Phillips (FAU) def. Battye/Dorofeeva (TROY) 8-1