"...'To say that our team is extremely excited right now would be an understatement,' said Samford head coach Terry Sisk. 'This team worked so unbelievably hard this season and we only had one goal in mind. After we defeated Murray State to reach the championship match, we knew that it was in our grasp.'..."
The Samford University women's tennis team once again reached the pinnacle of the Ohio Valley Conference on Sunday, April 23 with a 4-2 win over the Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles in the title match of the 2006 OVC Tournament.
With the victory, Samford improved to 15-6 on the season and advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the second time in three years. In 2004, the Bulldogs defeated Tennessee-Martin to win the OVC Tournament crown.
"To say that our team is extremely excited right now would be an understatement," said Samford head coach Terry Sisk. "This team worked so unbelievably hard this season and we only had one goal in mind. After we defeated Murray State to reach the championship match, we knew that it was in our grasp."
Samford won the doubles point to take an early 1-0 lead in the match and then rallied for three victories in singles play to earn a 4-2 victory.
In doubles play, the Bulldogs' combination of Emily White and Sarah McKey defeated Tennessee Tech's Alet Boonzaaier and Marina Tasheva, 8-5, on court No. 1. Samford also picked up a critical victory on court No. 3 as the Bulldogs' duo of Whitnie Warren and Christie Baker knocked off Marina Ruiz and Maia Semerdjieva, 8-5.
After winning the all-important doubles point, Samford took its momentum into singles play and earned wins on courts No. 4, 5 and 6.
The Bulldogs' Bethany Benson set the tone early as she cruised to a 6-1, 6-0 victory over Semerdjieva on court No. 6. With the win, Samford took a 2-0 advantage in the match and later extended its lead to 3-0 as Warren downed Ruiz, 7-5, 6-0, on court No. 4.
After Tennessee Tech picked up wins on courts No. 1 and 3, the Bulldogs' Sarah McKey secured Samford's OVC Championship title with a three-set victory on court No. 5. After dropping the first set, 6-1, McKey took over the match in sets two and three by breezing to wins of 6-1, 6-0.
"We had a pretty good regular season, but we knew all along that we had the best team in the conference," said Sisk. "All we wanted was a chance to prove ourselves in the tournament and I think that definitely did that today."
The Samford University women's tennis team will begin play in the 2006 NCAA Tournament on May 12-17. Exact times and dates will be determined on May 3, at 7:30 p.m. (CDT), as the NCAA Selection Show airs live on ESPNews.
The Bulldogs will host a "Selection Show Party" at Full Moon Barbeque for the event.
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