The APSU women’s tennis team lost their first conference match in nearly three years with a 4-3 defeat at the hands of Jacksonville State on Friday, March 26.
Prior to the contest, the Govs had not lost in OVC play since April 22, 2018—1,069 days ago.
Despite a 6-0 win from the No. 1 doubles position of Fabienne Schmidt and Danielle Morris, JSU stormed back to secure the match’s inaugural point after coming away with a pair of 6-4 victories from the No. 2 and No. 3 positions.
APSU found themselves down by two early following JSU’s Dariana Prato defeating Martina Paladini-Jennings in straight sets to open up singles action.
Aleks Topalovic record the Govs first point of the afternoon from the No. 5 singles position and the rally officially began.
Following Topaovic’s point, the two teams traded scores. Ana Albertson fell from in the No. 6 singles match, but Fabienne Schmidt brought APSU within one with just two matches remaining and the Gamecocks needing just one to secure the victory.
Locked in a tight battle with her opponent, Danielle Morris entered a seven-point tiebreak. At game point, Morris trailed 6-1 and — while she eventually narrowed the deficit to four — was unable to complete the comeback.
The Gamecocks then secured the victory, but Jana Leder came out on top in the final match of the afternoon just minutes after Morris’ defeat.
With last season being cancelled prior to conference play, APSU had not played against an OVC opponent since its conference Tournament Championship against UT Martin that capped off a perfect 22-0 (8-0) season for the team prior to the NCAA Tournament.
The year before being named both the regular season and tournament champions, the Govs fell to Eastern Kentucky in the championship game. Until Friday, it was the most recent defeat on the team’s resume.
Despite the loss, APSU head coach Ross Brown commends his women for their fight throughout the contest and looks for his team to get back on track next week against Southeast Missouri.
“Our women aren’t going to go away,” Brown said. “This part of the season is about having some courage and having some heart out there and believing you can do something. I think we are just a little bit passive. We need to be a little bit stronger out there and dictate what is going on.
“Credit to the other team, they played very well today. We have played teams that are supposedly better than that, but they played very well today. Everybody is coming to get us, that is a good thing. But, at the same time, we had better be ready to play.”
The Governors will begin a two-game road trip next week beginning on Friday, April 2 against the Redhawks. Following the trip to Cape Girardeau, Mo. the team will return to the Volunteer State to take on the Skyhawks in Martin, Tenn. a day later. Both matches are scheduled to start at 1.p.m. and noon, respectively.
1.. Fabienne Schmidt/Danielle Morris (APSU) def. Carolina Bulatovic/Malin Buechner (JSU) 6-0
2.. Charlie Croteau/Harriet Hamilton (JSU) def. Jana Leder/Aleks Topalovic (APSU) 6-4
3.. Dariana Prato/Sara Jamal (JSU) def. Ana Alberton/Honoka Nakanishi (APSU) 6-4
Order of finish: 1, 2, 3*
1..Fabienne Schmidt (APSU) def. Carolina Bulatovic (JSU) 6-2, 4-6, 6-1
2.. Harriet Hamilton (JSU) def. Danielle Morris (APSU) 3-6, 6-4, 7-6, (7-2)
3.. Jana Leder (APSU) def. Malin Buechner (JSU) 7-5, 3-6, 7-5
4.. Dariana Prato (JSU) def. Martina Paladini-Jennings (APSU) 6-2, 6-4
5.. Aleks Topalovic (APSU) def Sara Jamal (JSU) 6-1, 3-6, 6-1
6.. Charlie Croteau (JSU) def. Ana Albertson (APSU) 7-5, 6-2
Order of finish: 4, 5, 6, 1, 2*, 3