Appalachian State University women’s tennis suffered a tightly-contested 4-3 setback on Thursday afternoon to No. 7 seed and archrival Georgia Southern in the first round of the 2017 Sun Belt Tennis Championship held in New Orleans at City Park Tennis Courts.
You couldn’t have asked for a more exciting match where both of App’s doubles wins were decided by two points and three of the six singles matches went to three sets. App was close once again as all three first round losses since joining the league have been decided by one point.
Trailing 3-2 during the match with their backs against the wall, the Mountaineers tied up the match thanks to Megan Mullen’s (Lake Norman, N.C./Mooresville) hard-fought three-set win over Monsey, 6-4, 0-6, 6-4 as the No. 6 in the lineup.
Once again, it came down to Heidi Swope (Weddington, N.C./Weddington) and her counterpart in the match-deciding point. After winning the match for the Black and Gold in the previous matchup against Georgia Southern, Swope played valiantly against Giulia Riepe, but fell in three sets 7-6 (7-5), 5-7, 2-6.
With App leading 1-0 going into singles play, the Eagles would capture the first two singles matches to take a 2-1 lead. Gabrielle Wreder (Miami, Fla./Miami Killian) fell to Emilia Bujan, 6-7 (2-7), 2-6 before Rebecca Morse (Lehigh Acres, Fla./Cypress Creek) suffered a 2-6, 5-7 setback to Arianna de Winter.
But the Apps, as they did all day, battled to tie up the match at 2-apiece following Taylor Bygrave’s (Monto, Australia/Miami Gold Coast) 7-6 (7-3), 6-3 triumph over Mariana Ranzahuer. Melissa Machado (Miami, Fla./Felix Varela) was defeated in three sets to Truscott in another close match 6-3, 2-6, 1-6. It would come down to the last pair of matches in an exciting way.
The Mountaineers captured two of three doubles matches in exciting fashion to take a 1-0 lead going into singles. After Swope and McKayla Zupan (Wilmington, N.C./Hoggard) fell to Mariana Ranzahuer and Lindsay Truscott, 2-6. App came back in the next two matches with Mullen and Wreder earning a hard-fought 7-5 win against De Winter/Riepe.
The clinching doubles match was down to Machado and Bygrave, as they gave App the doubles win in a clutch triumph over Bujan and Monsey by a score of 7-5.
App’s season has concluded while GASO will advance to the quarterfinal match against No. 2 seed South Alabama on Friday.
The Mountaineers will return six of their nine student-athletes including four of their top five wins leaders in singles play in Bygrave, Swope, Machado and Morse.