WICHITA FALLS, TX (KAUZ) - For the fourth time in five years, Midwestern State will get the chance to display its talents on the national stage as the 15th-ranked Mustangs grinded out a 5-1 victory over No. 24 Dallas Baptist in the NCAA South Central Region #2 Championship Monday afternoon at the MSU Tennis Center to advance to their sixth NCAA Sweet 16 in program history.
Sophomore Eirini Kontaki delivered the clincher for the Mustangs with her third postseason singles victory in a 7-6 (2), 6-4 win over Lacey Sprinkel at No. 2 singles to punch MSU's ticket to the Sunshine State.
Midwestern State (22-4) will be joined by 15 of the nation's top teams at the Sanlando Park Tennis Center in Altamonte Springs, Fla., next week as they all vie for the national title. The Mustangs will begin their nationals run Wednesday, May 10 against the top seed out of the Atlantic Region.
Following a 2-1 lead after doubles play, sophomore Maddy Coffman provided the first punch for the Mustangs in singles with a 6-1, 6-3 triumph over Mikayla Rinker on court four for a 3-1 advantage. With her team-best 20th singles win, Coffman became the eighth Mustang in program history and just the second in the last 12 seasons to record 20 singles and doubles wins in a single season after totaling 23 doubles victories.
Freshman Ashley Ramirez soon followed Coffman's win with a victory of her own to extend the MSU lead to 4-1 after a 6-2, 6-4 result over Cassidy Paul at No. 6 singles.
The Mustangs led on the three remaining courts with several in contention to clinch the match. At No. 1, junior Daria Panferova carried a 7-5, 4-1 lead over Ana Marija Banic while freshman Bianca Duff was ahead in the third set with a 6-4, 4-6, 3-2 lead over Skylar McDonald on court three. At No. 5, sophomore Greta Lazzarotto was one game away from a victory, leading Liz Slaughter at line five, 7-6 (3), 6-5.
Lazzarotto and Ramirez began the day by helping the Mustangs jump out to an early 1-0 lead in doubles following an 8-3 rout of Sprinkel and Bianca Tijerina at No. 3 to post their 23rd win of the season.
At No. 2 doubles, Panferova and Kontaki held off a late Dallas Baptist (15-7) rally with an 8-5 decision over Slaughter and McDonald.
DBU avoided a doubles sweep and earned its lone point of the afternoon with Banic and Rinker recording an 8-6 victory over Duff and Coffman at the top position for a 2-1 score.
The Mustangs finished with an unblemished 11-0 home record this season to set a new program record for home wins in a season.
#15 Midwestern State 5, #24 Dallas Baptist 1
May 1, 2017 at Wichita Falls, Texas (MSU Tennis Center)
1. Daria Panferova (MSU) vs. Ana Marija Banic (DBU) 7-5, 4-1, unfinished
2. Eirini Kontaki (MSU) def. Lacey Sprinkel (DBU) 7-6 (7-2), 6-4
3. Bianca Duff (MSU) vs. Skylar McDonald (DBU) 6-4, 4-6, 3-2, unfinished
4. Maddy Coffman (MSU) def. Mikayla Rinker (DBU) 6-1, 6-3
5. Greta Lazzarotto (MSU) vs. Liz Slaughter (DBU) 7-6 (7-3), 6-5, unfinished
6. Ashley Ramirez (MSU) def. Cassidy Paul (DBU) 6-2, 6-4
1. Ana Marija Banic/Mikayla Rinker (DBU) def. Bianca Duff/Maddy Coffman (MSU) 8-6
2. Daria Panferova/Eirini Kontaki (MSU) def. Liz Slaughter/Skylar McDonald (DBU) 8-5
3. Greta Lazzarotto/Ashley Ramirez (MSU) def. Lacey Sprinkel/Bianca Tijerina (DBU) 8-3
Dallas Baptist 15-7; National ranking #24; Regional ranking #3
Midwestern State 22-4; National ranking #15; Regional ranking #2
Order of finish: Doubles (3,2,1); Singles (4,6,2)
NCAA II South Central Region #2 Championship