JOHNSON CITY, TENN. -- With the score knotted at 3-all, senior Gabby Rodriguez outlasted Yi Chi Ma, 7-6, 1-6, 7-6(6) at flight six singles to lead Furman past East Tennessee State, 4-3, Friday at the Dave Mullins Tennis Complex in Johnson City, Tenn. With the win, the Paladins (16-8, 6-0 SoCon) remain unbeaten in the Southern Conference and extend their winning streak to nine matches. ETSU drops to 9-10 overall and 4-2 in league play.
The Buccaneers won the top two doubles matches to claim the opening point. Alory Pereira and Ioanna Markesini blanked sophomore Katarina Kozarov and junior Katty Weymouth, 6-0, at number one, and Melissa Esguerra and Chi Ma downed freshman Carol Elizabeth Kerman and Rodriguez, 6-4, at flight two. The flight three match was unfinished.
The Paladins tied the score at 1-apiece when Weymouth scored a quick 6-4, 6-1 victory over Markesini at flight two singles, but ETSU regained the advantage with Pascual-Larrinaga's 6-4, 6-0 win versus sophomore Danni Vines at flight three.
The remaining four matches went to a third set, and Furman took a 3-2 lead with wins at flights one and four. Kozarov came from behind to beat Pereira, 1-6, 6-2, 6-4, at number one, then Kerman held off Alejandra Morales, 6-4, 3-6, 6-3, at number four. At flight five, Esguerra defeated freshman Georgie Walker, 5-7, 6-2, 6-3, to score for ETSU, tying the match and setting up the decisive flight six contest.
"That was an incredible college tennis match between two very good teams, and I am so proud of how hard our girls fought," said Furman head coach Adam Herendeen. "We played a very poor doubles point, but made up for it with some incredible singles play."
Furman (16-8, 6-0 SoCon) will entertain Samford Saturday at noon at the Mickel Tennis Center in the team's regular season finale. The Paladins will honor seniors Aryn Greene and Gabby Rodriguez in their final home match.
Julie Paré, Furman Sports Information
Furman 4, ETSU Women's Tennis 3
Apr 06, 2018 at Johnson City, Tenn. (Dave Mullins Tennis Complex)
1. Katarina Kozarov (FUR) def. Alory Pereira (ETSUW) 1-6, 6-2, 6-4
2. Katty Weymouth (FUR) def. Ioanna Markesini (ETSUW) 6-4, 6-1
3. A. Pascual-Larrinaga (ETSUW) def. Danni Vines (FUR) 6-4, 6-0
4. Carol Eliz. Kerman (FUR) def. Alejandra Morales (ETSUW) 6-4, 3-6, 6-3
5. Melissa Esguerra (ETSUW) def. Georgie Walker (FUR) 5-7, 6-2, 6-3
6. Gabby Rodriguez (FUR) def. Yi Chi Ma (ETSUW) 7-6, 1-6, 7-6 (8-6)
2. Melissa Esguerra/Yi Chi Ma (ETSUW) def. Carol Eliz. Kerman/Gabby Rodriguez (FUR) 6-4
Furman 16-8, 6-0 SoCon
ETSU Women's Tennis 9-10, 4-2 SoCon
Order of finish: Doubles (1,2); Singles (2,3,1,4,5,6)