FAYETTEVILLE – There’s only won way to spell 22nd-ranked University of Arkansas Lady Razorbacks’, 4-3, Southeastern Conference victory over the 6th-ranked University of Georgia on Sunday, C-L-U-T-C-H.
Down 3-2 to Georgia (12-4,4-2 in SEC), No. 122 Ela Kaluder fought off No. 45 Yvette Hyndman, 6-3, 2-6, 6-4, after being down 3-2 in the third set.
Now that the match was all square at three, the hero of the day for the Lady’Backs (12-5, 5-1 in SEC), senior Maryori Franco, tied her cape tight. After dropping the first set to No. 115 Naoko Ueshima, 3-6, Franco stormed back to take the second, 6-4. The senior from Baranquilla, Columbia added a little spice to the third set, 6-4, to capture the program’s second ever win against Georgia and first since 1998.
Arkansas’ 5-1 mark in the SEC currently puts them in the first place in the Western Division and a two-match lead over both LSU and Auburn in second-place. The Lady’Backs next match against Florida will determine the overall leader in the SEC.
“This was a really big victory for a lot of reason,” said Lady’Back tennis head coach Michael Hegarty. “Obviously it was another huge SEC win for our team, but the girls just fought so hard and played so well, that was the best part.”
No shocker to Lady’Back tennis fans, Arkansas snagged their ninth-straight doubles point with a clean sweep of the Bulldogs. Franco and teammate Nanar Airapetian toppled Ueshima and Monika Dancevic, 8-3, while No. 50 Audrey Bordeleau and Anouk Tigu clinched a 1-0 lead by defeating Adrienne Elsberry and Cameron Ellis, 8-2. Number 32, Aurelija Miseviciute and Ela Kaluder, took the brooms to No. 25 Kelley and Y.Hyndman, 8-3, to complete the three wins in doubles.
Miseviciute, ranked No. 1 nationally, increased the Lady’Back lead to 2-0 with a routing of K. Hyndman, 6-1, 6-1.
The win was Miseviciute’s 41st of the season, placing her in third-place for wins in a season by a Lady’Back, and one win away from a tie for second.
The Bulldogs tied the match back up with wins on Courts 3 and 5. Monika Dancevic, No. 81 in singles, won against Tigu, 7-5, 6-1. Shortly after Dancevic’s victory, Cameron Ellis dropped Nanar Airapetian, 6-1, 7-5.
Georgia grabbed their first lead of the day, 3-2, when Elsberry handed Bordeleau her first conference loss of the season, 2-6, 6-2, 6-4.
Although Georgia grabbed a late, and what looked to be crucial lead, the admirable play of Kaluder and Franco extended Arkansas’ conference winning streak to five games.
“Georgia is a great team, and they made us earn this victory today,” Hegarty said. “Having Mayo [Maryori Franco], Ela [Kaluder] and Audrey [Bordeleau] left on the court tied at 2-2 was truly a great thing for us."
Arkansas will be back in action seeking their sixth-consecutive SEC win on Friday, Mar. 28 at No. 4 Florida.
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#22 Arkansas- 4
#6 Georgia- 3
1. #1 Aurelija Miseviciute (UA) def. #56 Kelley Hyndman (UGA), 6-1, 6-1.
2. #122 Ela Kaluder (UA) def. #45 Yvette Hyndman (UGA), 6-3, 2-6, 6-4.
3. #81 Monika Dancevic (UGA) def. Anouk Tigu (UA), 7-5, 6-1.
4. Maryori Franco (UA) def. #115 Naoko Ueshima (UGA), 3-6, 6-4, 6-4.
5. Cameron Ellis (UGA) def. Nanar Airapetian (UA), 6-1, 7-5.
6. Adrienne Elsberry (UGA) def. Audrey Bordeleau (UA), 2-6, 6-2, 6-4.
Match Notes: (Order of Finish: 1,3,5,6,2,4*)
1. #32 Aurelija Miseviciute/Ela Kaluder (UA) def. #25 Kelley Hyndman/Yvette Hyndman (UGA), 8-3
2. Maryori Franco/Nanar Airapetian (UA) def. Naoko Ueshima/Monika Dancevic (UGA), 8-3.
3. #50 Audrey Bordeleau/Anouk Tigu (UA) def. Adrienne Elsberry/Cameron Ellis (UGA), 8-2.
Match Notes: (Order of Finish: 2,3*1 )