ALTAMONTE SPRINGS, Fla. – After fighting through a match lasting over six hours, the season came to an end for the No. 3 BYU-Hawaii women's tennis team as the Seasiders fell just short, 5-4, to No. 7 Saint Leo in the Round of 16 at the NCAA Division II Tennis Championships Wednesday morning.
The undefeated season for BYU-Hawaii (26-1) came to an end sooner than the Seasiders would have liked and will have to work next year for their 12th title.
Even though the Seasiders did not advance, BYU-Hawaii's Min (Karen) Liu was named the ITA Rookie of the Year. Liu was undefeated at both singles and doubles during the regular season in her first year at BYU-Hawaii.
The matched started with Saint Leo snatching the first doubles point after Jin Jin (Leah) Han and Jade Griffin lost 8-0 in third doubles. No. 1 doubles partners and the No. 2 ranked team of Nannan (Dallas) Zhang and Min (Karen) Liu evened the score at 1-1 with an 8-2 victory.
But the Lions took the lead once again after a hard-fought battle at No. 2 doubles, when the No. 9 tandem of Marika Kobayashi and Marietta Tuionetoa came up short, 8-6 to put the Seasiders down 2-1 heading into singles play.
No. 4 Zhang defeated Coralie Pesentie 6-2, 6-0 at No. 1 singles to start of singles to even the match at 2-2.
Sasha Ulbrichtova gave BYU-Hawaii the lead back with a 6-1, 6-0 win over in the fifth spot, pulling the Seasiders out to a 3-2 advantage.
BYU-Hawaii took a 4-2 advantage with No. 25 Tuionetoa winning a No. 4 singles after a violation forcing a default from her opponent.
Things took a turn with a weather delay coming when the No. 2, No. 3 and No. 6 singles were all still in play.
A back and forth No. 3 singles match between Saint Leo's No. 48 Anastasia Wagner taking the first, 6-1, but Kobayashi bounced back to win the second set 6-3. Wagner clinched the third 7-5, winning the match to send momentum back toward the Lions.
Undefeated No. 5 Liu dropped her first set in No. 2 singles but won the second, 7-5. A 6-2 loss in the third gave Saint Leo another point and evened the match at 4-4. The loss was Liu's first of the season after entering the match 14-0.
After winning the first set 6-2, Han and the Seasiders were close to getting the win but her opponent Adrianna Daszkiewicz battled back to earn a 7-6 (7-3) win in the second set, sending the match into a third and final set.
Daszkiewicz would take the third set 6-2 to win it for the Lions.