Feb. 9, 2014
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. ---- In a thrilling match at George Ward Park on Sunday, the UAB women’s tennis team shocked No. 67 Northwestern State, 4-3, en route to the Blazers’ first win against a ranked opponent since 2007.
Under first-year head coach Mark Tjia, the 2014 Blazers become the first UAB women’s tennis squad to defeat a ranked team since a 4-3 triumph against then No. 74 Southern Miss on April 15, 2007. Meanwhile, the Demons picked up their first loss of the season on Sunday and fall to 2-1 overall on the year.
“Today’s match might have been one of the most emotional and thrilling matches I have ever been a part of,” Tjia said. “I am really proud of our team for bouncing back so many times when things did not go our way.
“I thought Dani (Rachel Daniell) played her best match of the year by far, and I could not be more proud of our freshmen for battling back and forth. We still have a lot of work to do, but we did an excellent job of competing today to pick up a great win for our program.”
Sunday’s contest started with a heartbreaking doubles defeat for the Blazers. The two teams split on the first and third courts as Polina Konop and Tatiana Larina (NWLA) defeated Rachel Daniell and Elaine Simon (UAB) 6-2 at the first position, while the tandem of Pardis Kianoush and Paula Castro (UAB) ousted Aliona Ladutska and Amy Williams (NWLA) 6-1 at the third court.
That split set up a back-and-forth match at the second doubles court, where UAB’s duo of Amy Lowther
and Catherine Ragon
jumped out to a 5-3 lead against Northwestern State’s Natalya Krutova and Kateryna Piatakova. The Demon duo rebounded and fought off several match points to take a decisive 7-5 victory.
The excitement carried over into singles as UAB was forced to battle back from an early deficit. Already down 1-0 following doubles action, Blazer netter Ragon lost a 6-1, 6-1 match to Northwestern State’s Krutova to put the Demons up 2-0.
Daniell started a Blazer rally as she took a dominating 6-1, 6-1 victory against Larina at the first court. UAB then tied the match up when Castro defeated Northwestern State’s Daniela Simonova, 6-3, 6-4 at the No. 6 position.
Lowther then gave UAB its first lead of the contest with a hard-fought, come-from-behind thriller at the second court, where she battled back from a second-set loss for a 6-4, 0-6, 11-9 triumph against Konop.
Down 3-2, the No. 67 Demons tied the contest when Ladutska defeated Simon, 7-6, 6-1, to even the score at 3-3 as all eyes turned to Court No. 3, where the match would be decided.
After losing the second set, UAB freshman Pardis Kianoush showed great poise and resiliency to fight from behind in the third set and pick up a 6-3, 3-6, 12-10, victory against Piatakova and clinch the 4-3 win for the Blazers.
UAB returns to George Ward Park on Sunday, Feb. 16 to face Conference USA foe UTSA at 11 a.m. CT.
Tennis Match Results
#67 Northwestern State vs UAB
Feb. 9, 2014 at Birmingham, Ala.
(George Ward Park)
UAB 4, #67 Northwestern State 3
1. Rachel Daniell (UAB) def. Tatiana Larina (NWLA) 6-1, 6-1
2. Amy Lowther (UAB) def. Polina Konop (NWLA) 6-4, 0-6, 11-9
3. Pardis Kianoush (UAB) def. Kateryna Piatakova (NWLA) 6-3, 3-6, 12-10
4. Natalya Krutova (NWLA) def. Catherine Ragon (UAB) 6-1, 6-1
5. Aliona Ladutska (NWLA) def. Elaine Simon (UAB) 7-6, 6-1
6. Paula Castro (UAB) def. Daniela Simonova (NWLA) 6-3, 6-4
1. Polina Konop/Tatiana Larina (NWLA) def. Rachel Daniell/Elaine Simon (UAB) 6-2
2. Natalya Krutova/Kateryna Piatakova (NWLA) def. Amy Lowther/Catherine Ragon (UAB) 7-5
3. Pardis Kianoush/Paula Castro (UAB) def. Aliona Ladutska/Amy Williams (NWLA) 6-1
Northwestern State 2-1; National ranking #67
Order of finish: Doubles (1,3,2); Singles (4,1,6,2,5,3)