Late rally keeps Championship hopes alive as Panthers win 4-3 over Troy

(Alexia Escalante/The Beacon)

Jonathan Jacobskind/ Staff Writer

It was a match that tested the will of the FIU Panthers. The fourth seeded Panthers (6-14) played themselves into an early 0-3 hole, but rallied back and clinched a 4-3 contest against the seventh seeded Troy Trojans (11-10) in the quarterfinals of the 2012 Sun Belt Conference Tournament on April 20. 

(Alexia Escalante/The Beacon)

The doubles portion of the match showed the Panthers struggle to drop two of the three matches. Sarah McLean and Rita Maisak lost 8-5 to Lyubov Dorofeeva and Karoline Grymel and Lisa Johnson and Christine Seredni lost 8-6 to Candela Munoz Giron and Olfa Dhaoui. The lone bright spot of doubles was Freshman Karyn Guttormsen and Sophomore Guilietta Boha who took down  Rosaura Ramirez-Vega and Gabrielle Veiga 8-4. Guttormsen, playing in her first Sun Belt Tournament match, felt the level of play had risen for the occasion.

“In doubles, Giuetta and I pulled through. It was a really good match for the both of us we didn’t have too much trouble,” Guttormsen stated. “It definitely is still more intense since it’s my first Sun Belt Tournament, it’s just great to be out there playing for a conference title.” 

In the singles portion of the match, Troy extended its lead picking up two more additional points. Johnson fell 6-0, 6-4 to Olfa Dhaou and all-confernce first team player, Rita Maisak, faltered in a (6-1, 6-0) loss to Grymel.

Despite loud cheering and heckling coming from the Troy fans and players,  Seredni, a senior playing in her last Sun Belt Conference Tournament and the rest of the team blocked out the distractions and answered back with some cheering and pep talks of their own.

“When we were down 3-0, the team we were playing was loud and obnoxious, and they were getting really fired up,” Seredni said. “We just tried to match their volume and my court Karyn [Guttormsen] and Giuletta [Boha] were also playing well so that got me pumped up.”

Prior to the FIU turnaround, The Panthers seemed to have Mother Nature on their side as a two and half hour rain delay threw a wrench in Troy’s momentum and would turn out to be a blessing in disguise. Boha felt that the rain delay helped the Panthers to regroup as well as gave them some comfort.

“We got a well-needed break since it was raining and kept [ourselves] concentrated and went through our game plan. So we came back and were ready to go,” Boha said. “After the sun came back, it felt like we were playing back in Miami’s weather so that also really helped.”

Once the match resumed, Guttormsen came out fighting and wrapped up a three-set victory over Munoz Giron 1-6, 6-3, 6-4. The win extended her overall singles record to 12 victories dating back to Oct 21 at the ITA Southeast Regional Championships, the most wins on the team. Boha then followed up with a 6-3, 7-6, against Ramirez-Vega and freshman Mclean clinched a 6-2, 6-2 victory over  Dorofeeva. Seredni helped finish off the match for the Panthers by downing Samya El Hsissen 6-4, 6-4.

The Panthers will resume play against Middle Tennessee State on April 21 at 10 am. 

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