Panthers take down the Knights in season finale

The FIU tennis team has a shaky start to their season, but expect to make a comeback

Reinaldo Llerena/ Staff Writer

The women’s tennis team found chinks in the University of Central Florida Knight’s armor to win their final match of the season in Orlando on Saturday, April 1.

The Panthers (15-2) came back from a 2-0 deficit to down the Knights. The Panthers won four out of the 6 singles matches to clinch the match.

Saturday’s win over the Knights improved the Panthers’ away record to a perfect 8-0. The Panthers improved to 4-2 when losing the doubles point and remain undefeated when winning the first point.

The Knights jumped ahead early and took the doubles point.

The duo of freshman Maryna Veksler and junior Nina Nagode dropped their match, 6-2, to Natalia Serrano and Sofia Baptista. However, senior Carlotta Orlando and redshirt freshman Andrea Lazaro evened the doubles match.

The pairing defeated Emilia Granstrom and Caroline Eberhart, 6-3. The Knights took the last doubles match, as senior Kaitlin Brozovich and sophomore Nerma Caluk lost to Monica Matias and Cortney Cesarini 6-3.

The Knights added to their lead in the singles portion of the match as Brozovich fell to Serrano in straight sets, 6-0, 6-1.

The Panthers’ first point came when Lazaro picked up her 16th-straight win with a 6-1, 6-3 win over Granstrom. Lazaro remains undefeated in dual matches.

FIU tied the match at two when Orlando defeated Cesarini in straight sets, 6-4, 7-6 (4). The Panthers took the lead, 3-2, when Nagode defeated Baptista in three sets, 6-7 (1), 6-2, 6-2.

But, the Knights tied the match at three when Veksler fell to Eberhart in three sets, 2-6, 6-0, 6-4.

Caluk clinched the match for the Panthers, 4-3, when she defeated Matias in the final set, 7-5, 0-6, 7-5.

The Panthers were scheduled to play the University of Alabama at Birmingham Blazers on Sunday, April 2, but the match was cancelled because of inclement weather. The match will not be made up.

If the match against the Blazers was played, then the Panthers had to win against their conference opponent to clinch the No. 1 seed.

However, since the match was cancelled and FIU has the lowest ranking in the conference and best conference record, the Panthers clinched the No. 1 seed.

FIU will travel to Murfreesboro, Tenn. to take part in the Conference USA Tennis Championships from April 20-24. The Panthers head into the tournament as the No. 1 seed in the conference.

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