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Gators, Hogs, Dores and Rebels advance to SEC semis

2049 days ago
SEC Staff
Photo: Matthew Goldman

Match 7: Florida 4, LSU 2

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Florida defeated LSU, 4-2, in the SEC Tournament quarterfinals on Friday. The No. 2-seeded Gators earned the win indoors at the Goodfriend Tennis Center due to temperatures in the 40s this morning in Knoxville.

The doubles point came down to Court 2, where McCartney Kessler and Josie Kuhlman claimed the clincher, 6-4, after Court 3 went to Florida and Court 1 to LSU.

In singles action, Katie Kubicz sped to a Court 6 victory while dropping just two games. Kessler gave the Gators a 3-0 lead before LSU claimed wins on Court 4 and Court 1 to close the gap to 3-2.

Moments later, Peggy Porter provided the clinching point, wrapping up a 6-2, 6-2 victory against Luba Vasilyuk at the fifth singles position.

Match 8: Arkansas 4, South Carolina 2

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - For just the third time in program history and the first time in 10 years, Arkansas will play for a spot in the SEC Women's Tennis Tournament championship match Saturday.

Now winners of four straight, the No. 11 seed Razorbacks (10-15, 3-10 SEC) stormed past No. 7 ranked and No. 3 seed South Carolina 4-2 on Friday at the Dr. Robert L. Barksdale Tennis Stadium to earn a spot in the 2018 tournament's semifinal. It marked Arkansas' highest-ranked victory since beating No. 2 Georgia in the Sweet Sixteen in 2008 and the first time the Razorbacks have won three matches in the SEC Tournament during the program's history.

The Razorbacks are now set to face off against No. 9 ranked and No. 2 seed Florida (17-7, 11-2 SEC) at 9 a.m. CT Saturday.

"I haven't seen courage and fight of this level in a mighty long time," Razorbacks head coach Michael Hegarty said. "These young women have done it the right way all season long and they deserve a tremendous amount of credit. Including the match here Saturday that is four consecutive wins on these courts and I'd say Knoxville is our second favorite -ville in the country, after Fayetteville of course."

South Carolina (19-6, 11-2 SEC) gained the early advantage Friday by clinching the doubles point with wins at the No. 2 and No. 3 spots. The Gamecocks then extended their lead to 2-0 with a win at No. 5 singles.

But the Razorbacks would battle back and go on to win the next four matches for the team victory, after being down 6-love on courts 3 and 4.

Junior No. 89 Ana Oparenovic scored a huge win in straight sets at No. 2 and leveled the overall match, after sophomore Natsuho Arakawa's comeback three-set win at No. 4.

Tied 4-4 in the third set at No. 6, sophomore Jackie Carr won the next two games for a 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 victory to set up the clincher for junior Mia Jurasic at No. 3.

Jurasic overcame the first-set loss and muscled past South Carolina's No. 30 Hadley Berg 0-6, 7-5, 6-3 to secure the Razorbacks' impressive 4-2 victory.

Match 9: Vanderbilt 4, Texas A&M 1 

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- For the fifth year in a row, the No. 2 Vanderbilt women's tennis team advances to the Southeastern Conference Tournament semifinals, defeating No. 36 Texas A&M 4-1 at the Barksdale Tennis Center.

The top-seeded Commodores opened up Friday's quarterfinal match, taking the one-point advantage in a closely contested doubles point. Vanderbilt altered its doubles lineup, but the shift did not stop the Dores from taking their 16th doubles point of the season.

Vanderbilt's Christina Rosca and Amanda Meyer limited Arkansas' Riley McQuaid and Iulia Ivascu to one game the entire match, taking a 6-1 victory on court three. With the victory, Rosca/Meyer extend their winning streak to seven matches and sit undefeated since March 9.

Tatiana Makarova and Macarena Olivares leveled the tandems opportunity, after a neck-and-neck competition on court two. Down 5-6, No. 58 Emma Kurtz and Emily Smith pushed for a tiebreaker, however the Aggies pulled off the victory taking the final two points of the breaker for the win, 7-6(8).

Unranked Fernanda Contreras and Summer Dvorak earned a ranked win while competing on court one. Accustomed to playing at No. 3 doubles, the Dore duo defeated No. 59 Eva Paalma and Domenica Gonzalez by clinching the match in a tiebreaker, 7-6(4).

Texas A&M flipped a switch in singles play, earning large leads on predominately every court but one. However, the Commodores rallied to take five of six first sets.

Meyer was first off the court for the black and gold, earning a 6-3, 6-1 victory on court four for the 2-0 Vanderbilt lead. Meyer now owns a three-match winning streak on court four and her first SEC Tournament victory. The Aggies earned their lone point of the day on court six. Ivascu defeated Smith in straight sets, 7-5, 6-1.

Down 1-3 in the first set, Dvorak worked to level her match on court five to 4-all. The junior earned key points in each game and walked away with the opening set over Makarova 7-5. Dvorak earned the Dores' their third point of the outing, breezing through her second set, 6-3.

Ranked seventh in the country, Contreras earned the day's comeback victory award. The junior powered back into her match after falling in the first set to No. 75 Olivares, 6-2. The Austin, Texas native flew through the second set, 6-1, to force a spotless final set, clinching the quarterfinal match 2-6, 6-1, 6-0.

At the clinch, Astra Sharma led on court one 5-0 in the second set, while Rosca trailed by one game on court three, 4-5 in the second set.

Match 10: Ole Miss 4, Georgia 1

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - For the 11th time in program history, the No. 5 seed and No. 6 ranked Ole Miss women's tennis team is headed to the SEC Tournament Semifinals after an impressive 4-1 win against No. 8 Georgia in the quarterfinals here Friday night at the Barksdale Tennis Stadium.

The Rebels will face the No. 1 seed and No. 2 ranked Vanderbilt Saturday at 1 p.m. CT. The Commodores defeated Texas A&M 4-1 to set up the meeting with the Rebels.

The night began with the Rebels taking a huge doubles point where both sides had multiple match points. Georgia won the match on court one 6-2, but the other two would go to tiebreakers. Both courts, the Rebels had match points at the same time and Georgia saved them. Natalie Suk and Anna Vrbenska ended up winning their tiebreaker 7-6(4) sending everyone to court two where Sabina Machalova and Tea Jandric saved several match points just to get to a tiebreaker. They saved another match point at 6-7 in the breaker and won three straight points to take it 7-6(7) to give the Rebels a 1-0 lead.

Senior Arianne Hartono, ranked No. 13 in the nation, wasted little time getting off the court in singles, dominating No. 10 ranked Katarina Jokic at No. 1 singles, 6-0, 6-1, to make it 2-0 Rebels.

Georgia got a straight set win on court six to get on the board, but that would be it for the night.

Machalova, ranked No. 77, finished off 61st-ranked Kennedy Shaffer 6-3, 7-6(3) on court two for a 3-1 Ole Miss lead, and then Jandric sealed it with a 6-2, 6-3 win against 85th-ranked Marta Gonzalez on court three.

The remaining two courts with Vrbenska and Suk, were in the third sets.