FORT MYERS, Fla. – In thrilling fashion, the FGCU (5-2) women’s tennis team took down Ball State 4-3 at the FGCU Tennis Complex on Tuesday afternoon.
“I am extremely proud of our team's fight today, said head coach Jennifer Gabou. “It was an old fashioned nail bitter and I give a lot of credit to Ball State for their spirit and energy. It was such an awesome moment to come from behind and pull out a win.”
FGCU once again failed at its attempt to capture the doubles point as Ball State took the first two doubles matches so quick that the third was not even completed.
The Green and Blue would rebound however by taking the singles courts by storm from the start as Johanna Sterkel (Schwetzingen, Germany/Carl-Theodor-Schule HS) and Elizabeth Means (Wesley Chapel, Fla./Wiregrass Ranch HS) continued their singles court success by winning their respective matches. Sterkel and Elizabeth Means were dominant once again as they each won their matches in straight sets by respective scores of 6-3, 6-2 and 6-3, 7-5.
With the addition of a 6-0, 7-5 singles victory by Morgan Bechtel (Toldedo, Ohio/St. Ursula Academy), FGCU took a commanding 3-1 lead in the dual match and were in need of just one more victory to clinch the match victory.
Ball State would not go away easily despite the sizeable deficit and the Cardinals rallied with the help of their top two as they both won their matches to make it a 3-3 tie with one match left to be completed.
Junior Bettina Botha (Cape Town, South Africa/De Kuilen HS) had battled back after dropping the first set in a tiebreaker, along with playing through cramping to remain in the match for FGCU. Botha continued to fight back as she would win the second set in a tiebreaker to bring everything down to a final third set. With a victory for the Green and Blue on the line, Botha won the final set 7-6 (5) to clinch an FGCU victory and end any Ball State hopes for completing the rally.
FGCU will return to action on Friday, March 8 at 2:00 p.m. as it will take on a Penn squad that is 6-2 on the year. Admission to the match at the FGCU Tennis Complex is free.
Following the match, results and a recap from the dual match action will be available at www.FGCUATHLETICS.com.
FGCU 4, Ball State 3
Order of Finish: (3, 4, 5, 2, 1, 6)
1. Wild (Ball State) def. S. Means (FGCU) – 7-5, 7-6 (5)
2. Earnest (Ball State) def. Mandic (FGCU) – 5-7, 6-2, 7-6 (5)
3. Sterkel (FGCU) def. Terashi (Ball State) – 6-3, 6-2
4. Bechtel (FGCU) def. Moore (Ball State) – 6-0, 7-5
5. E. Means (FGCU) def. Sanders (Ball State) – 6-3, 7-5
6. Botha (FGCU) def. Rang (Ball State) – 6-7 (7), 7-6 (2), 7-6 (5)
Order of Finish: (1, 3)
1. Wild/Earnest (Ball State) def. Bechtel/Botha (FGCU) – 8-3
2. Mandic/Sterkel (FGCU) vs. Moore/Sanders (Ball State) – DNF
3. Rodriguez/Pickrel (Ball State) def. E. Means/S. Means (FGCU) – 8-4