NEW ORLEANS - The top-seeded Georgia State women's tennis team defeated Troy 4-0 in the Sun Belt Conference Championship semi-finals to advance to the championship match on Sunday. The championship will be contested Sunday morning at 11 a.m. ET at the City Park Tennis Center.
The Panthers (11-8 and No. 66 in the national ITA rankings) will face No. 3 seed South Alabama, upset winners over No. 2 seed UT Arlington 4-3.
Georgia State kicked off the match by winning the doubles point. At No. 2 doubles, Marcia Tere-Apisah and Tarani Kamoe blanked Troy's Brooke Durden and Monica Gonzalez 8-0. At No. 3 doubles, Linn Timmermann and Chaimaa Roudami defeated Hannah Toro and Lyubov Dorofeeva 8-5.
In singles, Marcia Tere-Apisah, at No. 4 singles, got a quick point for the Panthers after her opponent retired after just three games. Roudami, at No. 6 singles, picked up the next point for Georgia State with her 6-3, 6-0 win over Durden.
Maryna Kozachenko clinched the match for the Panthers with her 6-1, 6-1 win over Margot de Haan.
Abigail Tere-Apisah, the recently named Sun Belt Player of the Year, was at match point against Trang Huyhn, leading 7-5, 5-2 when the match was called. Masa Grgan, at No. 2 singles, was leading Dorofeeva 7-6, 2-1 when her match was halted and Linn Timmermann, at No. 3 singles, was in her third set.
"I'm so proud of this team and the effort and fight we showed today on every single court," interim head coach Robin Stephenson said. "The team has worked so hard and we are rallying around each other and competing at a very high level. We played Troy earlier this season and had a close battle that came down to the last match, so I think today really shows how far we have come in the last few months. We are thrilled to be back in the championship tomorrow and we will bring our very best."
This is the fifth consecutive year that the Panthers have advanced to a tournament championshp. They lost the final match the last three years, but will look to win a conference championship for the first time since 2009 when GSU topped VCU in the CAA and earned an NCAA Regional bid. In their first Sun Belt tournament last year, GSU lost the championship match to No. 60 North Texas.