FAYETTEVILLE – To say it was a monumental day for the 14th-ranked University of Arkansas Lady Razorback program would be an understatement.
The Lady’Backs succeeded in grabbing the program’s first ever Southeastern Conference Western Division title in a, 5-2, magnificent performance over 68th-ranked Mississippi State.
“Getting the SEC West title here today is a great honor for the program,” said Lady’Back head coach Michael Hegarty. “It was a big goal for our season to do this, but we still have even bigger ones (goals) ahead of us.”
A bright day for the program also turned into a record-breaking day for 1st-ranked Aurelija Miseviciute. Miseviciute zoomed past Martina Banikova, 6-2, 6-2, for her 45th win of the season breaking the single-season victory mark set by Lori Zacharias in 1981.
“Aurelija [Miseviciute] claiming that record was a great accomplishment for her on a person level,” Hegarty said. “However, like the team, she still has even bigger goals ahead of her this season.”
In the last regular season home-match for Lady’Back seniors Audrey Bordeleau and Maryori Franco, both went out in style.
With the score 3-1 in favor of Arkansas (14-7, 7-3 in SEC), Bordeleau capped off her career at the Billingsley Tennis Center, 6-4, 6-1, with a match-clinching victory over Tatiana Feit.
The Lady’Backs began the match with early momentum when Franco and teammate Nanar Airapetian snatched the doubles point clincher against Renee Joseph and Radka Ferancova, 8-6.
“Our seniors were just terrific again today, both playing well in a tight doubles point,” Hegarty said. “Both are just leading our team outstandingly in the most important point of the season.”
After capturing the doubles point, Airapetian pushed the Lady’Backs ahead 2-0 by dropping Valeriya Makarycheva, 6-2, 6-1. Miseviciute’s win extended the lead to 3-0 over the Lady Bulldogs (7-9, 0-9 in SEC).
Before Bordeleau’s straight-set clincher, Ferancova defeated Franco, 6-2, 6-2, for the Lady Bulldogs first point of the day. Junior Ela Kaluder, ranked No. 62 in the nation, defeated No. 112 Renee Joseph, 6-2, 6-3, for Arkansas’ final point of the day. Mississippi State earned their second and final point in the last match of the day when de Villiers dropped Anouk Tigu, 6-2, 7-6(4)
In doubles, No. 24 Miseviciute and Kaluder toppled Banikova and de Villiers, 8-4, while Bordeleau and Tigu shot down DaAndra Saddler and Makarycheva, 8-2, to finish off the sweep over the Lady Bulldogs.
The Lady’Backs will close out the regular-season at No. 33 LSU on Saturday before entering the SEC tournament as the No. 1 seed out of the Western Division.
Visit LADYBACKS.COM for this week’s updated statistics and ITA Rankings.
#68 Mississippi State-2
1. #1 Aurelija Miseviciute (UA) def. Martina Banikova (MSU), 6-2,6-2
2. #62 Ela Kaluder (UA) def. #112 Renee Joseph (MSU), 6-2, 6-3.
3. Radka Ferancova (MSU) def. Maryori Franco (UA), 6-2, 6-2.
4. Elna de Villiers (MSU) def. Anouk Tigu (UA), 6-2, 7-6(4)
5. Nanar Airapetian (UA) def. Valeriya Makarycheva (MSU), 6-2, 6-1.
6. Audrey Bordeleau (UA) def. Tatiana Feit (MSU), 6-4, 6-1.
Match Notes: (Order of Finish: 5,1,3,6*,2,4)
1. #24 Aurelija Miseviciute/Ela Kaluder (UA) def. Martina Banikova/Elna de Villiers (MSU), 8-4.
2. Maryori Franco/Nanar Airapetian (UA) def. Renee Joseph/Radka Ferancova (MSU), 8-6
3. Audrey Bordeleau/Anouk Tigu (UA) def. DeAndra Saddler/Valeriya Makarycheva (MSU), 8-2.
Match Notes: (Order of Finish: 3,2*,1)