Athens, Ga.--Led by the doubles point and a match-clinching 6-4, 6-1, victory from Jocelyn Ffriend, the No. 72-ranked Georgia State women's tennis team upset No. 40 Oklahoma State with a 4-3 win on Sunday at the ITA Kick-Off Weekend.
The Panthers (2-0) jumped to a 3-0 lead behind the doubles point and quick wins from junior Abigail Tere-Apisah and senior Whitney Byrd. Tere-Apisah won 6-4, 6-3 at the No. 1 position and Byrd fought back for a 3-6, 6-3, 6-2 win at the No. 3 slot. But Oklahoma State (1-1) fought back with three-straight singles victories to tie the match at 3-3. Ffriend put the final point on the board for Georgia State with her win at No. 6 singles.
"Today was one of the most intense matches I have ever been a part of and the tipping point ended up being the doubles point," sixth-year head coach Miha Lisac said. "As close as the match was, we had an advantage because we won the doubles point. It is definitely something we need to learn from because it is only one point, but it provided us a huge mental advantage for the whole match."
The win is GSU's second win at the ITA Kick-Off Weekend in school history. The No. 40-ranked Cowgirls are the highest ranked opponent GSU has defeated since it won a 4-3 match at No. 37 USF late last season. GSU and Oklahoma State were meeting for the first time in history.
GSU won a tightly-contested doubles point with victories at the No. 1 and No. 2 positions. The No. 19-ranked duo of Tere-Apisah and sophomore Masa Grgan won 8-7 (8-6) against Oklahoma State's Malika Rose and Kanyapat Narattana at the No. 1 slot to clinch the point. Byrd paired with senior Maryna Kozachenko to win an 8-6 contest at the No. 2 slot.
"One of the things I hope we are drawing confidence from is the preparation from the fall and the spring," Lisac said, "This match could've gone either way if you played it 10 times. These matches come down to making a few right decisions and executing your game when you're at crucial points in the match. When it's that close, a set can come down to two points and you win those points through preparation and all the drills we've been doing."
The Panthers advance to take on No. 6-ranked Georgia tomorrow at the Hopkins Indoor Courts. It will be the first meeting between the two teams since 1999. Live stats will be available courtesy of georgiadogs.com the match.