CHATTANOOGA, Tenn (4/30) -- Despite dropping the deciding doubles match in a tiebreaker, 18th-ranked Martin Methodist won four singles matches in straight sets, defeating Milligan College, 5-3, in the Women's NAIA Tennis Qualifying Tournament here Saturday afternoon. With the victory the RedHawks earn an automatic berth into the NAIA National Tournament set for May 17-21 in Mobile, Ala.
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn (4/30) -- Despite dropping the deciding doubles match in a tiebreaker, 18th-ranked Martin Methodist won four singles matches in straight sets, defeating Milligan College, 5-3, in the Women's NAIA Tennis Qualifying Tournament here Saturday afternoon. With the victory the RedHawks earn an automatic berth into the NAIA National Tournament set for May 17-21 in Mobile, Ala.Anastasia Alescheva's 6-2, 6-4, victory at No. 2 singles over Albany Kelly was the deciding point for Martin Methodist. Paloma Cortina, Maria Charrys and Mikaela Long all posted straight-set singles wins to help the RedHawks claim the victory.
MMC (14-5) won at No. 1 doubles but dropped the final two spots to start the match, including a 7-5 tiebreaker at No. 2.
Cortina and Charrys posted an 8-1 victory over Albany Kelly and Caitlin Conley, but Jessie Rose Remegi and JoLynne Heidt won 8-3 against Rachel Wolfe and Long at No. 3.
Alescheva and Jeanna Stanford battled back from an early deficit to force the tiebreaker at No. 2, but Milligan's Kayla Kelly and Ahmee Kelly won the first five points of the breaker and held off the MMC duo for a 7-5 win.
But the RedHawks took early control in singles, going up a set at Nos. 1, 2, 3 and 5.
Charrys was the first off with a 6-0, 6-1, victory at No. 3 over Conley before Cortina posted a 6-3, 6-0, win at No. 1 against Kayla Kelly. Celeste Carpenter's 6-2, 6-2, triumph at No. 4 versus Stanford evened the match at three, but only for a few minutes, as Long disposed of Halie Winfrey, 6-2, 6-2, at No. 5.
Despite some struggles in the second Alescheva bested Albany Kelly, 6-2, 6-4, the final two spots on winners down the line for the deciding point.
In the semifinals on Saturday morning, Martin Methodist and Milligan College advanced to the finals with victories over Cumberland University and Xavier [LA] University, respectively.
Martin Methodist won six of the final seven games to post a victory at No. 1 doubles and take an early 2-1 edge in the third meeting of the spring between the RedHawks and Bulldogs. Cumberland tied the match with a singles win at No. 4 by Amber Johnson, but MMC took the next three singles outings for the 5-2 triumph.
Alescheva and Stanford won 8-1 at No. 2 doubles over Tais Lacerda Bezerra and Anita Rácz, but Cumberland looked to be in control of the other two matches.
Courtney Schaub and Larissa Akari Miura got two early breaks at No.1 against Cortina and Charrys, but the MMC duo broke at 4-6 and two more times en route to a 9-7 victory.
At No. 3 Johnson and Lindsey Gaither jumped early and staved off Long and Wolfe, 9-7.
Johnson's 6-0, 6-2, win at No. 4 tied the match at two, but Wolfe posted a 6-0, 6-0, victory versus Gaither at No. 6. Long defeated Lacerda Bezerra, 6-3, 6-1, at No. 5 and Charrys' 6-3, 6-3, triumph at No. 3 over Rácz finished off the victory for Martin Methodist.
In the other semifinal Milligan won three hard-fought doubles matches and then the last two singles spot in the lineup to claim a 5-0 victory.