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It was a day for seniors to shine in tennis. Georgetown College men's and women's teams were hosting Cumberland University with a lot at stake.
On the women's side, both teams are receiving votes and are looking to better themselves for postseason seeding. On the men's side, GC has had some rough breaks and was looking to challenge the No. 7 team in the nation. In the end it was the Tiger women taking the 5-4 victory and the men dropping 7-2.
"It was a great day," said Tiger coach Jessica Cunningham. "Our women showed a lot of heart and our men proved to be who we knew they could be all along."
Cumberland opened a 2-1 lead on both sides of the competition following the doubles action. However, the one loss for the men's side came at the number one seed.
GC seniors Gustavo Echeverria and Ryne Least teamed up for an epic win over the No. 8 ranked Antonio Marcelo and Diogo Soares. The match was back and forth and eventually dead even at eight, meaning it was tiebreaker time. The Tigers did not blink at all, steamrolling one of the best doubles teams in the nation 7-1 in the breaker and picking up the 9-8 win.
"That was exciting," Cunningham said. "We rarely get to see emotion from Gustavo, but not today. He was really pumped in that match. It has been a hard season for our two seniors. They work so hard and play so well, but have come up against some of the best in the NAIA. However, it is making them better and we are seeing results such as today."
On the women's side, the drama lasted all day. The Bulldogs defaulted at the three seed in doubles and sixth seed in singles, giving Georgetown two points before the match started. They then won a heated contest in number one doubles. Antea Dedic and Alena Gizdic just beat Kaelin Roberts and Kelly Swanson 8-6. Angie Sepulveda and Franki Jecker handed Jacqueline Otis and Natalie Hill an 8-2 setback for a 2-2 match.
"We knew it was going to be tough all around, but felt like we had a shot," Cunningham said. "It came down to our two seniors when it was all said and done."
Sepulveda won in straight sets over Otis in the top singles match and Dedic defeated Swanson also in straight sets. CU was ahead 4-2 with three courts playing. Cumberland hesitated in putting out the fifth-seeded singles match, but with Georgetown ahead on the other two courts it seemed clear that it would come down to that fifth match.
Roberts won in straight sets over Gizdic (6-3, 6-2) to pull Georgetown back within a game. Hill had breezed through set one, 6-2, but was in a fight with Jecker in set two. Both ladies were holding serve and at 5-4 it seemed destined for a tiebreaker. Jecker took her first lead of the match by then breaking Hill and holding serve for the 6-5 advantage.
The senior held steady though and with the rally of the crowd on hand, held her serve to tie the match and won the tiebreaker to keep her team in hunt for the win.
"It was great having fans here today," Hill said. "It can be tough out on that court sort of all alone, but we really loved having everyone out here today. It made a difference."
The crowd moved from that court to rally behind Shelby Eden, who similar to Hill rolled in set one 6-3. However, the senior and her opponent Tais Bezerra seemed to struggle to hold serve in the second set. Bezerra would break and Eden break back. However, at 5-4 in favor of Eden, the senior ended the match by holding serve. She won 6-3, 6-4 and Georgetown won 5-4.
"We have a lot of business still to take care of, but this win is very exciting for us and for tonight we will enjoy," Cunningham said.
The other Tiger win of the day came from the fifth seed on the men's side. Jacob Loveland defeated Garry Tokas 6-2, 3-6, 1-0.
Georgetown returns to action Monday weather permitting. The men will be at home hosting Bluefield, while the ladies hit the road to take on Shawnee State.