April 17, 2014
NORFOLK, Va. - For the fifth time this season Louisiana Tech lost the doubles point but then came back to win with strong singles.
That fifth time was today as the Lady Techsters rebounded with four straight set wins to defeat UAB, 4-1, on Thursday afternoon at the Folkes-Steven Tennis Center.
With the victory, No. 5 seed LA Tech (15-6) advanced to the quarterfinals to take on No. 4 seed Marshall tomorrow at 1 p.m. CT.
"Doubles has been an uphill battle for us all year so it was no surprise for us to lose the doubles point and have to come out and get a win from singles," said head coach Chad Camper. "We have kind of conditioned ourselves unfortunately like this.
"We are getting better at doubles everyday though. UAB is a tough doubles team. I've to give credit to them with the doubles. We knew that they were a feisty team and we knew we had to bring it. We came out swinging. A couple spots got up big early and from there it was just great tennis."
Arriving at the tennis center, the team did not know whether the match was going to be played indoor or outdoor. The weather was right at the cut line, but officials decided to put the match outside.
With both squads fighting the brisk wind, the doubles on all three courts were neck and neck. Taly Merker and Manoela Chiacchio had the early advantage at No. 3 with a 4-1 lead, but UAB's Amy Lowther and Catherine Ragon bounced back to win four straight games to go up 5-4.
In the meantime, UAB (8-15) held a slim 6-5 lead at No. 1 and No. 2 and were able to break LA Tech on both courts and then hold at love for the two 8-5 wins to take the doubles point.
At that point the Techsters needed someone to step up early in singles to tie the match back up and that person was Marta Sramkova.
"Marta really came up big today," said Camper. "She has kind of had a tough season. Being a freshman and playing high in the lineup can be tough at times. She really found a way to come up big and stay up. I think the other players on the team saw her winning that match and saw her that confident which really spread."
The freshman came alive at No. 4 and won easily 6-0, 6-2 versus Elaine Simon. Manoela Chiacchio also won her first set 6-0 at the No. 6 spot. She was up 4-3 in the second set but then broke and held serve to take the match 6-0, 6-3 over Paula Castro.
On all six courts LA Tech managed to snag the first set, but the Blazers were not going down without a fight. It took a gutsy performance by Alexandra Starkova to come away with a 6-4, 6-3 victory at No. 1 against Rachel Daniell who was crucial in getting the Blazers past the first round.
Then right playing right next to Starkova, Joanna Nalborska was able to pull off the clincher with a 6-2, 6-3 win against Lowther.
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