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Furman Slips Past UCF, 4-3; Sweeps Evansville, 7-0, On Thursday

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Ansley Speaks

ORLANDO, FLA. – The Furman women's tennis team slipped past UCF, 4-3, and swept Evansville, 7-0, Thursday at the USTA National Campus in Orlando, Fla., to end its spring break trip. 

The Paladins won two doubles matches to claim the opening point versus the Knights.  Senior Ansley Speaks and junior Aryn Greene teamed up for a 6-3 victory over Cortney Cesarini and Monica Matias at flight one, and freshman Katarina Kozarov and senior Blair Martin beat Elizabeth Bagerbaseh and Nicole Jimenez, 6-2, at number three.  The flight two match was unfinished.

Furman extended its lead to 3-0 after Martin defeated Jimenez, 6-0, 6-1, at flight six, and Kozarov posted a 6-4, 6-1 advantage versus Cesarini at number four.  UCF rallied back to tie the match at 3-3 with wins at flights two, three, and five, setting up a decisive flight one match-up.

The flight one contest between Speaks and Matias went to a third set, as Matias took set one, 6-7(0-7), and Speaks rebounded with a 6-3 advantage in set two.  In the final set, Speaks took a 3-1 lead before Matias won the next three games to go up, 4-3.  With Matias leading 40-15 in the next game, Speaks rallied to win the game and tie the set at 4-4, then won the final two games to take the set, 6-4, and give the Paladins the victory.

In the nightcap versus Evansville, Furman swept the singles and the doubles matches for the victory.  Speaks and Greene defeated Chieko Yamada and Theodora Soldatou, 6-2, at number one, and sophomore Katty Weymouth teamed with freshman Danni Vines to blank Daria Pentsova and Andjela Brguljan, 6-0, at flight two.  In the third-seeded contest, Kozarov and Martin beat Diana Tkachenko and Andrea Pascual-Larri, 7-6(3).

In singles action, Speaks picked up a quick 6-0, 6-1 win versus Yamada at flight one, and Vines moved to flight two, where she topped Tkachenko, 6-1, 6-2.  Kozarov downed Nicoli Pereira, 6-0, 6-1, at number three, and freshman Hannah Ferrett posted a 6-1, 6-3 advantage versus Pentsova at number four.  Martin beat Pascual-Larri, 6-4, 6-3, at flight five, and at flight six, Greene defeated Brguljan, 6-1, 6-3.

"Today was another great battle, and I am proud of how hard our team fought," said Furman head coach Adam Herendeen.  "We showed how fit and tough we are, and I can not think of a better way to head into SoCon play."

Furman (12-5) opens the SoCon season on March 16 when the Paladins entertain Mercer at 3 p.m. at the Mickel Tennis Center.

Julie Paré, Furman Sports Information