Tennis teams fall in conference semifinals

Freshman Natalia San Morena returns a serve against the University of Alabama-Huntsville April 3. The men’s and women’s tennis teams fell in the semifinals of the Gulf South Conference tournament April 18.

by Student Writer Matt Suleski

The men’s and women’s tennis teams both ended their Gulf South Conference Championship bids in the semifinals at O’Connor Tennis Center in Montgomery.

The men’s team came into the conference tournament as the No. 3 seed and defeated Delta State, the No. 6 seed.

“We played a good match Saturday morning,” said head coach Brice Bishop. “We came out and competed against a good Delta State team and were able to put them away.”

The Lions won the match 5-2, led by No. 1 singles player Guillaume Dechoz, who defeated Niko Ptasinski 6-1, 7-5.

Dechoz also teamed with Brendon Herrmann in doubles as they defeated Ptasinski and Arthur Berthiaux 8-6.

“I thought we set the tone by taking two out of three in doubles,” Bishop said. “We finished strong in singles, and that got us to the next (semifinals) round.”

Valdosta State University swept the Lions 5-0 in the semifinal round.

The Lions had a match point in one doubles match and were up a break in another doubles match, before letting both slip away.

“We had our chances in doubles,” Bishop said. “If we would have won those two matches, the outcome could have been much different.”

The Lions await their fate by the selection committee April 28 to see if they are chosen for regional play.

“At this point we just have to sit back and wait,” Bishop said. “I’m proud of the way my guys competed all season and hopefully we’ll get a chance to keep playing.”

The women came into their side of the tournament, seeded fourth out of eight teams.

They played conference rival UAH in the first round, defeating them 5-1 behind the stellar play of their No. 1 seeded player Olivera Ngouabeu.

Ngouabeu defeated Marleena Gort in singles 6-2, 7-6, and she teamed with Natalia Barragan to win a match in doubles as well.

“I thought Oli (Ngouabeu) played well,” Bishop said. “I was also proud of Natalia for the way she played.”

Barragan won her singles match over Marta Briega 6-4, 6-1 in what proved to be her last victory as a member of the UNA tennis team.

The women’s tennis team will not be playing in regionals this year, as its season came to an end at the hands of the eventual winner of the tournament, West Florida.

“We only lost one senior from this years team,” Bishop said. “Natalia will be missed, but I like the direction of the program.”