Tulsa Wins Back-to-Back C-USA Women's Tennis Titles
April 20, 2008
Houston, Texas - The top-seeded and 48th-ranked Golden Hurricane won its second consecutive C-USA Women's Tennis Championship on Sunday when they ousted No. 2 seed and 50th-ranked Marshall Thundering Herd (17-9), 4-1. TU fell behind early when it lost the doubles point, but rallied back to take singles victories at Nos. 1, 2, 4 and 5 for its second women's tennis title in program history. In last year's finals, Tulsa defeated Marshall, 4-0. The victory gives Tulsa a record of 21-5 on the season, including a mark of 5-0 against league opponents.
TU cut through the conference championship in impressive fashion again this year, outscoring its opponents 12-1 over its three matches. Tulsa becomes the league's first repeat winner since Tulane won the title in 2003-05.
No. 50 Marshall opened the day by winning a hotly contested doubles point. The 31st-ranked pair of Kellie Schmitt and Karolina Soor of Marshall took the victory at the top spot, 8-5, over Alexandra Kichoutkin and Carla Zabaleta. At No. 2, Thalia Diaz-Barriga and Marta Marcinkowska downed Jeanne Schwartz and Isabell Raich, 8-2, to even things up. Marshall's duo at No. 3, Jessica Keener and Thaddea Lock proved to be too much for TU's Jie Zeng and Rebecca Row and escaped with an 8-5 win to grab the early advantage.
TU then grabbed the momentum back early on in the singles competition, with sophomore Row cruising to a 6-3, 6-1 win over Raich on court four to even things up at 1-1. Junior Diaz-Barriga then put TU ahead 2-1 with her straight-set win at No. 2, 6-1, 6-4, over Schwartz. Sophomore Marcinkowska's effort at No. 4 pushed her team to the brink of the title as she finished off Lock at No. 4, 6-2, 6-1.
The match looked like it would be decided at No. 3 where junior Zabaleta was up a set on Soor and leading 5-2 in the second, but Soor kept battling, despite facing match point four times.
In the meantime, No. 125 Kichoutkin was in the process of storming past No. 53 Schmitt at No. 1. Kichoutkin, a freshman, was down 4-2 in the first set, but came back to win in a tie-breaker, 7-6. She then grabbed all the momentum and cruised to a 6-1 second set tally to clinch the match and the title for TU. Kichoutkin moved her dual record to a remarkable 23-2, including a 4-1 mark against ranked opponents.
Tulsa's next action will be determined after the draw for the 2008 NCAA Championships is set. The field will be announced on Tuesday, April 29 between 3:00-3:30 p.m. CT on ESPNews.
#48 Tulsa 4, #50 Marshall 1
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