Seward Women Just Short of Region 6 Tennis Title

KSCB News - April 25, 2016 6:17 am

The Seward County Lady Saints came up just 1.5 points short of their first Region VI Championship Sunday afternoon in a long, hard fought day of tennis at Blue Bonnet Park in Liberal. Needing to win all three championship matches in doubles play after a meltdown in the final singles match of the weekend, Seward was only about to get two of the three and therefore fell just short of the rival Cowley Tigers who finished with 14 points. Despite the disappointing ending, the Lady Saints still did more than enough to punch their tickets to the NJCAA National Tournament in two weeks with their second place finish and will join Cowley and third place Barton, who collected four points on Sunday, in Tyler in May.

In #1 singles, the Lady Saints picked up a quick half point on Sunday as Mialiainia Rakotondrazafy easily defeated Brooke Hershberger of Hesston 6-1, 6-0 in the third place match in the top bracket.

One of the best battles of the day came at #2 singles where Thalita Rodrigues took the court for Seward. Top seeded Rodrigues played 2nd seeded Evan Forneiron of Cowley even through the first two sets, Rodrigues taking the first 6-2 and Forneiron answering with a 6-7 (1) win in the second. For the second time this season, Rodrigues and Forneiron went to a third set tiebreak and also for the second time, Rodrigues came out victorious, pumping her fist with a 6-3 win to capture the #2 title.

Seward looked like they were in good shape at #3 as well as Maminiania Rakotondrazafy took the first set 6-4 against Cowley’s Sara Petric, but Petric came back to take the second 7-5 and then breezed to a 6-2 third set win to collect the all-important Sunday point for the Tigers.

In #4 singles, Seward’s Yennifer Delgado had trouble ever getting going against Cowley’s Andjela Rajovic, dropping a 6-3, 6-2 decision to finish in second place.

Seward’s match at #5 singles is where the tide of the day turned. Nthabi Mogopodi dominated Cowley’s Bruna Chaves 6-0 in the first set for Seward and was burying her once again in the second, up 5-0, but didn’t throw enough dirt on the Brazilian as Chaves stormed back to win seven straight games, taking the second 7-5 to send the match to a third and deciding set. With all of the momentum on her side, Chaves finished off Mogopodi with a 6-2 third set win to take the match 2-1.

Top seeded Tadi Mrewa held serve for the Lady Saints at #6 singles. One night after starring in the SCCC rendition of Hairspray, Mrewa barely broke a sweat, downing Cowley’s Logyn Williams 6-0, 6-3 to win the championship and pick up another tally for the gals in green.

After the shocking loss at #5 to close singles action, the Lady Saints needed to win all three doubles spots to capture their first Region VI Championship.

Things were looking up for Seward as the Rakotondrazafy/Rakotondrazafy combo picked up a 6-3 first set win over Cowley’s Frendo/Forneiron duo, the top seeded pair in the #1 doubles bracket. Frendo/Forneiron stormed back though, taking the second 6-4 and then the third 6-3 to come from behind for the win to clinch the title for the Tigers.

At #2 doubles, Rodrigues/Mogopodi took the court for Seward. The pair continued to dominate as they had all regular season long, making short work of Petric/Rajovic of Cowley, winning 6-1, 6-2 to capture the championship for Seward.

The final match of the weekend to get going was at #3 doubles where Mrewa and Madison Hoelting represented Seward County. The duo squeaked out a first set win, taking it 7-6 (2) over Tipton/Chaves of Cowley, but made things a little bit easier in the second, outlasting the Tigers 6-4 to sweep the match and win the #3 title.

The point at #5 singles ended up being the difference in the tournament as Cowley finished on top with 14 points while Seward checked in second with 12.5, Barton third with 4, and Hesston fourth with 1.

All of the news out of Seward camp wasn’t bad Sunday however as unlike other NJCAA Region VI Tournament’s, the top three teams from the regional event advance to the NJCAA National Tournament, meaning that Seward will join Cowley and Barton in Tyler, Texas in two weeks.



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