April 10, 2010
HATTIESBURG, Miss. - Sophomore Mariam Kurdadze won her singles and doubles matches and the bottom of the Green Wave lineup all posted singles victories as the Tulane University women's tennis team defeated Conference USA foe Memphis 5-2 Saturday afternoon at the Southern Miss Tennis Complex.
The win was the third in a row for the Green Wave as Tulane improved to 11-8 on the year and 3-2 in C-USA action. Saturday's victory over the Lady Tigers assured the Wave of their first winning season since returning the court last year following a four-year layoff caused by the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in August 2005. Memphis, meanwhile, concluded its regular season 12-16 overall and 1-4 in league play.
"We were really excited about today's match," Tulane head women's tennis coach Terri Sisk said. "We knew going into this one that Memphis had a great year and they had actually beaten a couple of teams that we lost to. We knew we had our hands full but I told the girls that a lot of these matches - because everyone is so even from 1-6 - it was going to be about fight. The attitude was to just refuse to lose and I thought we did a good job of that.
"We set the tone quickly with the doubles point and we never let up in singles. That's something exciting to see as a coach. It just comes down to a point where you say you're not going to lose this match. You're going to do what it takes to win. That's exactly what the girls did today."
Coming off a 7-0 sweep of UTEP on Friday in the 2010 home finale at the Goldring Tennis Center, the change in venue did very little to slow the Green Wave on Saturday.
In doubles play, Kurdadze and freshman Emma Levy outlasted Memphis' duo of Ashley Murdock and Marjorie Ondeck on Court 1, 8-6. The Tigers' Courtney Collins and Kelly Grey defeated Tulane's Lindsay Dvorak and Emma Helistén in No. 2 doubles play, but Elizabeth Hamlin and Hila Elster rallied on Court 3 to down Andrea Argues-Garcia and Amanda Brown, 8-3, to put the Wave on top 1-0.
"She was actually down 4-1 in the first and was complaining about not being able to feel the ball," Sisk said of her Kurdadze early in her singles match. "She just did a really good job of settling down and started executing a little better inside the point. That actually ended up going her way. She's always a fighter and she never quits. She's a fierce competitor and that's just another reason why she's had such an incredible two years at Tulane. We expect to continue to see great things from her."
The match, however, was decided by the bottom of the lineup as Dvorak, Helistén and Elster all posted straight-set victories. Dvorak won her opening set over Brown on Court 4, 6-1, and won 4-0 in the second set when Brown retired. Helistén took care of business on Court 5, sweeping Grey 6-1, 6-4, while Elster was near perfect in a 6-0, 6-1 victory over Dara Toulch on Court 6.
"You always look for your 4, 5 and 6 to win and all three of them did a great job today," Sisk said. "Emma Helistén and Hila Elster both have really turned the corner. They're starting to feel a little more confident on the court. They trust themselves and they trust their shots. I expect to see great things from them as well."
The Green Wave will close out the 2010 regular season on Sunday, April 11, when they take on Southern Miss with a noon contest at the USM Tennis Complex. From there, Tulane will open play in the 2010 Conference USA Women's Tennis Championship on Thursday, April 22, in Tulsa, Okla. The winner of the four-day event will receive the league's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
TULANE GREEN WAVE (11-8, 3-2 C-USA) DEFEATS MEMPHIS TIGERS (12-16, 1-4 C-USA) - 5-2
No. 1: Mariam Kurdadze (Tulane) def. Ashley Murdock (Memphis) - 7-6 (7-1), 6-2
No. 2: Courtney Collins (Memphis) def. Emma Levy (Tulane) - 6-4, 6-4
No. 3: Marjorie Ondeck (Memphis) def. Elizabeth Hamlin (Tulane) - 7-6 (7-3), 7-5
No. 4: Lindsay Dvorak (Tulane) def. Amanda Brown (Memphis) - 6-1, 4-0
No. 5: Emma Helistén (Tulane) def. Kelly Grey (Memphis) - 6-1, 6-4
No. 6: Hila Elster (Tulane) def. Dara Toulch (Memphis) - 6-0, 6-1
No. 1: Mariam Kurdadze / Emma Levy (Tulane) def. Ashley Murdock / Marjorie Ondeck (Memphis) - 8-6
No. 2: Courtney Collins / Kelly Grey (Memphis) def. Lindsay Dvorak / Emma Helistén (Tulane) - 8-5
No. 3: Elizabeth Hamlin / Hila Elster (Tulane) def. Andrea Argues-Garcia / Amanda Brown (Memphis) - 8-3