NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Thursday’s match between the Lipscomb and Florida Gulf Coast women’s tennis teams came down to the final court at Ensworth High School, where the action was moved indoors after significant rainfall deluged the Nashville area.
Ultimately, it was the Eagles that emerged with a 4-3 win behind Laura Falceto Font’s 4-6, 7-5, 6-2 victory over Denise Buberl in the third set.
Four of the six singles matches went to third sets, with each team taking a pair of those lengthy battles.
“Our energy was really good, but our focus wasn’t always there in the third sets,” Lipscomb coach Jamie Aid said. “That hurt us in the end, but all in all, (the third sets) showed that we are right there.”
Lipscomb (7-10) started out strong by winning the doubles point. The duo of Buberl and Viktoriya Dzyuba posted a 6-1 victory to improve their record to 4-0, while Kateryna Popova and Madeleine Brooks downed Font and Julianna Curtis by a score of 6-3.
“Today was one of the better doubles showings we’ve had,” Aid said. “The girls were up at the net and being aggressive, and I was very pleased with how they played.”
However, FGCU reeled off three consecutive singles victories to take a 3-1 lead with three courts still in progress.
Popova and Brooks kept the Bisons alive with singles wins over FGCU’s Julia Ascúa and Madison Gallegos, respectively. That brought the attention to Court 5, where Font and Buberl battled for the final point.
After Buberl fell just short in the second set (7-5), Font jumped out to a lead in the third set and never looked back.
“We told the girls beforehand to expect a lot of third sets and the match would probably be determined in third sets,” Aid said. “(Popova and Brooks) did well to win their matches, but it just wasn’t enough.”
Popova’s victory improved her singles record to 12-2, while Brooks moved to 5-8 on the season. With the win, FGCU improved to 12-0 all-time against the Bisons.
Thursday, March 29: FGCU 4, Lipscomb 3
Maja Ornberg (FGCU) def. Viktoriya Dzyuba (LIP) 1-6, 6-1, 6-0
Kateryna Popova (LIP) def. Julia Ascúa (FGCU) 6-7 (3), 6-0, 6-3
Madeleine Brooks (LIP) def. Madison Gallegos (FGCU) 6-2, 5-7, 6-2
Laura Falceto Font (FGCU) def. Denise Buberl (LIP) 4-6, 7-5, 6-2
Sofia Perez (FGCU) def. Thabile Tshatedi (LIP) 6-4, 6-0
Bridget Forster (FGCU) def. Kateryna Kandyba (LIP) 6-2, 6-2
Denise Buberl/Viktoriya Dzyuba (LIP) def. Julia Ascúa/Maja Ornberg (FGCU) 6-1
Madeleine Brooks/Kateryna Popova (LIP) def. Julianna Curtis/Laura Falceto Font (FGCU) 6-3
Madison Gallegos/Patricia Villar (FGCU) def. Kateryna Kandyba/Thabile Tshatedi (LIP) 6-2
The Bisons hit the road next weekend for matches at North Florida and Stetson. Lipscomb will first take on the Ospreys on Thursday, April 5 at 5 p.m. The Stetson match is set for Saturday at 11 a.m. in Deland.
North Florida is currently 11-6 and was picked alongside FGCU as one of the top teams in the ASUN.
“UNF is a great team,” Aid said. “(The result) will depend on how mentally prepared we are to battle in third sets. We’ll need to be focused from start to finish (in both matches).”