The women’s tennis team spoiled UCA’s Southland Conference Tournament hopes on Saturday with a 4-3 win over the Lady Bears on Saturday in Beaumont. But the run came to an end in a 4-3 loss to the Lamar Cardinals on Sunday.
Against UCA, the Wildcats got down early but fought their way back for a huge first-round win.
“Most impressive comeback I’ve ever seen,” Juan Nunez, the men’s and women’s tennis head coach, said. “We got down 3-0 pretty quickly and as soon as somebody gets to 4-0 it’s over, but then we started turning things around in singles. It was either gonna turn into an interesting match or be over in 15 minutes.”
After the slow start against the Lady Bears, the Wildcats found key victories with senior Ileana Mocciola securing the first victory of the day to cut the deficit to 3-1.
“Suddenly the whole match started feeling different,” Nunez said. “Ileana really gave us some confidence and from then it was incredible. Nini clinched the match for us with a 9-7 win in the third set of the tiebreaker. I couldn’t have been any prouder of these coaches and these girls.”
The Wildcats lost to the Lady Bears 4-0 on April 9, but that didn’t stop them from upsetting the Lady Bears in the tournament. Coming into the tournament, the Wildcats were the number six seed and UCA secured the three seed.
“Our girls really just didn’t go away,” Nunez said. “Every single one of them kept fighting. Everyone was coachable and everyone had the same goal. We just found a way to believe in ourselves and turn things around.”
On Sunday, the Wildcats faced the seven seed Lamar Cardinals in the semifinals of the conference tournament. The Wildcats lost 4-3 to the Cardinals with senior Nini Memishishi losing the final point in singles to Lamar’s Bianca Vitale.
ACU defeated Lamar 4-3 at home on March 28, but their run came to a close on Sunday. The Wildcats finish the season 12-13 in Nunez’s first year as director of the program.