Spartans Clip Eagles 4-3 for First A-Sun Victory

Spartans Clip Eagles 4-3 for First A-Sun Victory

Contact: David Beall,

FORT MYERS, Fla. – The USC Upstate women's tennis team went up against the top team in the league Thursday evening and emerged with a 4-3 victory, handing Florida Gulf Coast University its first Atlantic Sun Conference loss of the season at the FGCU Tennis Complex.

The Spartans (9-5, 1-2 A-Sun) pick up their first league victory of the year and snap a two-match losing streak, while the Eagles (10-4, 4-1 A-Sun) fall for the first time in six matches.

Invading a town that has become known worldwide as "Dunk City" over the last seven days with the FGCU men's basketball team's improbable run to the "Sweet 16," the Spartans brought their own fireworks to Fort Myers, Fla., Thursday afternoon, earning the doubles point and snagging three of the six singles matches to edge the Eagles.

Taylor Cohen and Julie Bell found themselves in their familiar role at the top spot in the doubles order and they delivered an 8-3 victory to set the stage for Upstate's 11th doubles point of the season in 14 chances. Isabel von Stryk and Talia Rojas added an 8-5 victory of their own at the No. 2 slot to give the Spartans the first point of the day and hand FGCU its first doubles point defeat in six matches.

Upstate carried the doubles point momentum to singles action and von Stryk made quick work of Gyanna Mandic at the No. 2 slot, earning a 6-0, 6-1 victory to make it a 2-0 Spartan advantage.

FGCU responded quickly and showed its strength, earning wins at No. 1, No. 3 and No. 5 singles to take a 3-2 lead with two courts still in play. The Spartans needed to capture the remaining two matches and they got part way there when Bell picked up a 7-6, 6-3 victory at the No. 6 spot, knotting the score 3-3.

The deciding match would come at the No. 4 slot where Cohen was locked in a marathon duel with Morgan Bechtel. Cohen earned the opening set 6-0 with ease, but Betchel battled back to force a third set.

With the third set deadlocked 6-6 and heading for a tiebreaker, Cohen converted the biggest points of her young Upstate career, rallying for a 7-5 tiebreaker victory and winning 6,0, 3-6, 7-6 (7-5) to give the Spartans a 4-3 comeback win.

The Spartans return to action Saturday morning, staying in the Sunshine State to battle Stetson University. First serve against the Hatters is set for 10 a.m. in Deland, Fla.

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USC Upstate 4, Florida Gulf Coast University 3
Mar 28, 2013 at Fort Myers, Fla. (FGCU Tennis Complex)

Singles competition
1. Sarah Means (FGCU) def. Constanze Kuerten (UPSTW) 6-0, 6-1
2. Isabel von Stryk (UPSTW) def. Gyanna Mandic (FGCU) 6-0, 6-1
3. Johanna Sterkel (FGCU) def. Talia Rojas (UPSTW) 6-2, 6-1
4. Taylor Cohen (UPSTW) def. Morgan Bechtel (FGCU) 6-0, 3-6, 7-6
5. Elizabeth Means (FGCU) def. Allison Beeler (UPSTW) 6-0, 6-2
6. Julie Bell (UPSTW) def. Bettina Botha (FGCU) 7-6, 6-3
Doubles competition
1. Taylor Cohen/Julie Bell (UPSTW) def. Morgan Bechtel/Bettina Botha (FGCU) 8-3
2. Isabel von Stryk/Talia Rojas (UPSTW) def. Gyanna Mandic/Johanna Sterkel (FGCU) 8-5
3. Elizabeth Means/Sarah Means (FGCU) def. Constanze Kuerten/Allison Beeler (UPSTW) 8-3
Match Notes
USC Upstate 9-5, 1-2 A-Sun
Florida Gulf Coast University 10-4, 4-1 A-Sun
Order of finish: Doubles (3,1,2); Singles (2,1,3,5,6,4)