Feb. 23, 2014
LAKE CHARLES, La. - Three hours before the first serve was to be hit, the skies were pouring down rain and the Louisiana Tech tennis team was unsure if Sunday's match at McNeese State was going to be played.
With help from head coach Chad Camper and others in squeegeeing the courts, the match began at 4 p.m. under sunlight and finished under the court lights over four hours later.
The Cowgirls took the doubles point and the first two singles matches to grab a 3-0 lead, but the Lady Techsters were able to dig down deep for an epic rally that ended in a 4-3 victory at the Nancy Hank Tennis Center.
"The girls really picked each other up," said Camper after being down. "Not everyone played their best tennis but we found a way to win. At the end of the day you can't teach heart and this team has heart. They showed me how much they want a winning program at Louisiana Tech and all the goals we have set before us.
"McNeese is a great team who had played some really good teams. We lost the doubles point and the girls were down but not out. You are not going to win the doubles point every time so we had to dig deep. It was a battle. I have got to give credit to my assistant coach Vivian ten Dolle as well who kept the girls in it to the end."
The odds were quickly against LA Tech (6-1, 1-0 C-USA) who had played the day before in Texas before making the drive down I-10 to play a road match against a stout McNeese State (3-4) squad the next day.
All three doubles matches went the distance, finishing with a score of 8-6, but it was the Cowgirls who snatched victories at No. 1 and No. 3 to grab the doubles point.
The sun was setting and so were the hopes of the Techsters as the home team's Julia Kral defeated Marta Sramkova, 6-2, 6-1 at No. 3 singles and Tech's Alexandra Starkova dropped a heartbreaking 2-6, 6-1, 6-1 battle with Klaudia Gawlik at No. 1.
Urvoy got the Lady Techsters on the board with a decisive 6-4, 6-3 win at No. 5 singles, and all of a sudden the tide began to turn.
Jazmin Britos came up with a powerful third set to defeat Vivien Borbely, 2-6, 6-4, 6-0 at No. 4. Then Joanna Nalborska took her game to another level in winning 7-5, 7-6 (5) at No. 2 against Sara Castellano, a player she had lost to at the Ragin' Cajuns Tennis Classic this past fall.
With the match knotted up 3-3, it came down to No. 6 singles. Chiacchio was down 2-0 in the third set, but then won six straight games to clinch it for LA Tech, 4-6, 6-2, 6-2.
"Melanie winning that first point really set the tone because when she won that point, there was still a lot of tennis to be played," said Camper. "Joanna was hitting back hands that I didn't know she could hit and all of a sudden it came down to Manoela and she embraced the opportunity and she ran away with the third set."
The victory extended the Lady Techsters winning streak to six matches.
Next up for LA Tech are matchups versus Conference USA foes Middle Tennessee and UAB the weekend of March 1-2 in Birmingham, Ala. First serve on Saturday against the Blue Raiders is set for 2 p.m.
For complete coverage of LA Tech Tennis, please follow @LATechTEN on Twitter or visit the official home of Louisiana Tech Athletics at www.LATechSports.com.