Norfolk, Va.--The No. 63-ranked Georgia State women's tennis team showed its resiliency as it fought back from losing the doubles point to win a 4-2 marathon match on Saturday at the Folkes-Stevens Tennis Center.
The third-seeded Panthers (11-6), under the direction of fifth-year head coach Miha Lisac, advance to face top-seeded VCU (20-4) on Sunday at 2 p.m. for the Colonial Athletic Association Championship. Freshman Masa Grgan won her second-straight match to help Georgia State outlast the Seahawks (15-7) in a marathon match that lasted just more than four hours.
Grgan clinched Georgia State's victory with a clutch 7-6 (10-8), 6-3, win at the No. 5 singles match. Grgan's opponent, UNCW's Kelly Cameron, fought off eight match points before Grgan was able to convert one and send GSU into the finals. She also fought back from a 3-0 deficit in the first set tiebreaker to grind out the victory in the set that set up her match-clinching win.
Junior Whitney Byrd, who battled through a doubles match that lasted an hour and a half doubles at the No. 2 position with sophomore Maryna Kozachenko earlier, began GSU's rally in singles. She posted a 6-2, 6-4 win at the No. 3 position as she improved to 11-6 this season. The junior now has won three straight singles matches.
Freshman Chaimaa Roudami won 7-6 (8-6), 6-0 in the No. 6 position following Byrd's victory. The freshman is 13-4 this season in one of the best rookie campaigns in recent history. Her win at the No. 6 position gave Georgia State a 2-1 lead.
Sophomore Abigail Tere-Apisah, the 2012 CAA Player of the Year, took a 7-5, 6-4 win at No. 1 singles less than five minutes after Roudami's win. Tere-Apisah improved her record to 16-1 this season and has won five matches in a row. Tere-Apisah's win came before Grgan's clincher at No. 5 singles.
Georgia State and VCU played one match earlier this season which the Rams won 4-3 in Richmond, Va. The Panthers took the doubles point, but failed to close out the match in singles.
Visit the women's tennis page on www.GeorgiaStateSports.com for CAA Championship Central. On Championship Central, fans can find links to live stats and a live blog of Sunday's championship match.
#63 Georgia State 4, UNCW 2
1. #36 Abigail Tere-Apisah (GSU) def. Christina Lee (UNCW) 7-5, 6-4
2. Olga Blank (UNCW) vs. Tereza Lerova (GSU) 3-6, 6-4, 2-4, unfinished
3. Whitney Byrd (GSU) def. Angie Sekely (UNCW) 6-2, 6-4
4. Alyssa Ritchie (UNCW) def. Maryna Kozachenko (GSU) 6-1, 6-3
5. Masa Grgan (GSU) def. Kelly Cameron (UNCW) 7-6 (10-8), 6-3
6. Chaimaa Roudami (GSU) def. Christina Riley (UNCW) 7-6 (8-6), 6-0
1. Tereza Lerova/Abigail Tere-Apisah (GSU) def. Christina Lee/Alyssa Ritchie (UNCW) 8-1
2. Olga Blank/Angie Sekely (UNCW) def. Whitney Byrd/Maryna Kozachenko (GSU) 9-8 (7-5)
3. Miller Hales/Kelly Cameron (UNCW) def. Masa Grgan/Chaimaa Roudami (GSU) 8-4