JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Entering the ASUN semifinals, North Florida had beaten the Lipscomb women’s tennis team in all 14 meetings between the two programs.
Unfortunately for the Bisons, that streak was extended to 15 consecutive Osprey wins on Saturday evening.
North Florida (16-7) rolled to a 4-0 victory on their home courts to advance to Sunday’s ASUN title match.
The Ospreys quickly jumped out to a lead by clinching the doubles point with wins in the No. 1 and No. 2 spots. In singles, the North Florida used victories from Lucia Montano, Valentina Mariotto and Florencia Rossi to clinch the overall match.
"We didn’t capitalize in doubles, and we knew it was important to do so because UNF is such a deep team," Lipscomb coach Jamie Aid said. "It was a tough task after we lost the doubles point."
Lipscomb's top two singles players, Viktoriya Dzyuba and Katernya Popova, both had their matches go unfinished. Dzyuba was leading 7-6, 2-3 and Popova was up 6-2, 5-4 when Montano defeated Madeleine Brooks for the fourth and final North Florida point.
Popova, who was named ASUN Player of the Year award on Thursday, finished the season with a 17-2 singles record, while Dzyuba went 11-7. Popova's only two losses came in the Alabama and Xavier matches.
"Kate’s been awesome this year," Aid said. "She’s made the transition (to college) really well. We're excited to see what she does in the future."
The defeat eliminated Lipscomb (11-12) from ASUN title contention and ended its season. The Bisons graduate just one senior in England native Hannah Gamage, who missed the majority of the season with a torn achilles.
"We hate to say goodbye to Hannah," Aid said. "She didn’t get to contribute like she wanted to this season, but she sat on (Popova)’s bench and really helped her through the matches. It was great to see that leadership from (Hannah)."
Saturday, April 21: North Florida 4, Lipscomb 0
- Rafaela Gomez (UNF) vs. Viktoriya Dzyuba (LIPW) 6-7 (4-7), 3-2, unfinished
- Eva Nyikos (UNF) vs. Kateryna Popova (LIPW) 2-6, 4-5, unfinished
- Lucia Montano (UNF) def. Madeleine Brooks (LIPW) 6-3, 6-4
- Luise Intert (UNF) vs. Denise Buberl (LIPW) 5-7, 1-0, unfinished
- Valentina Mariotto (UNF) def. Thabile Tshatedi (LIPW) 6-0, 6-1
- Florencia Rossi (UNF) def. Kateryna Kandyba (LIPW) 6-1, 6-1
- Luise Intert/Rafaela Gomez (UNF) def. Denise Buberl/Viktoriya Dzyuba (LIPW) 6-0
- Eva Nyikos/Lucia Montano (UNF) vs. Madeleine Brooks/Kateryna Popova (LIPW) 3-4, unfinished
- Florencia Rossi/Valentina Mariotto (UNF) def. Kateryna Kandyba/Thabile Tshatedi (LIPW) 6-1
Lipscomb’s season concluded with the loss. North Florida went on the win the ASUN title with a 4-1 victory over Stetson on Sunday. The Bisons return six players next season, in addition to adding a trio of recruits.
"We have a team that’s returning and we have three girls that we’re adding to the roster, which will give us nine," Aid said. "That’s going to help us out with depth. (Saturday) was good night in a lot of ways, because there was a lot of growth that took place this season."