CORPUS CHRISTI (Islanders Athletics) - The Texas A&M – Corpus Christi Women's Tennis team won a 6-1 match against Oral Roberts on Sunday, getting a win on Senior Day for Doris Kuselj, Leanne Mascall and Mia Matuszak on what was also the final regular season match of the year for the team.
"I can't tell you how special these three girls have been to our team and how much they have meant for our program," said Director of Tennis Steve Moore. "Their hard work, gritty competitive play and commitment to being great teammates have been the foundation for Islanders Women's Tennis."
The Islanders are now assured of at least a second-place finish in the Southland Conference, with the potential for a conference title depending on the outcome of a match on Monday between Southeastern Louisiana and Nicholls. A loss by SELA would give the Islanders the title and No. 1 seed in the upcoming Southland Conference Tournament.
Regardless of the outcome of that match, the program will see the highest finish ever for the women's team in a year that also saw the team reach No. 60 in the ITA National Rankings, comprised of all teams in NCAA Division I Women's Tennis, for the first time in school history, and reached the Top 10 in attendance in all NCAA Division I.
After doubles play was completed, the three seniors were recognized for their contributions to the Islanders Tennis program throughout their careers.
Kuselj has been part of the rise of Islanders Women's Tennis, coming onto a team that had never made the Southland Conference Tournament in its history, and helping them to four straight tournaments, with the final one coming later in the month. She was also the Southland Conference Freshman of the Year and All-Southland her first year.
Matuszak marked her time on the Island by coming back from a set down and 3-1 down to clinch the first ever win in the Southland Conference Tournament that sent the team into the semifinals last season. She also scored the clinching point in the Islanders first Southland Conference win over Texas State last season, and was named Southland Conference All-Academic.
Mascall started 7-0 at No. 6 singles this season as the team reached No. 60 in the national rankings. She has nine singles wins overall this year, and has been a big part of the Islanders success throughout the season.
"You really cannot ask any player to be a better role model of what a student-athlete should be," said Moore. "Hardcore high-level players that never quit, exceptionally diligent students and great teammates.
"I could go on about these three girls and what class acts they are, and I think it was special to see so many of our supporters to come out and honor these three girls today in their final home match."
The Islanders earned a big point in the match, winning 2-1 in doubles as Sandra Burges and Chelsea Horan earned an 8-0 win at No. 2, while Maider Martin and Matuszak won 8-3 a No. 3 to clinch the point. Kuselj and Stefanie Nicolae came up short at No. 1 doubles to finish the first half of the match.
Once the ceremonies were complete, the Islanders went to work in singles, dominating the final regular season match of the year for a 6-1 win.
Burges started the winning with a 6-0, 6-0 final at No. 4, and Mascall put the Islanders on the edge of clinching with her 6-0, 6-1 win at No. 6 to make it 3-0. Matuszak clinched the win for her team at No. 5, winning 6-1, 6-0 to get the Islanders to four points.
Martin won her match by a 6-1, 6-1 final at No. 2, while the other two matches would be decided through players retiring from the matches. After Nicolae won the first set by a 6-3 score, the ORU player retired from the match. The same happened at No. 1, with Kuselj falling 6-4 in the first before retiring.
The team will now await final seeding and determination of opponent in the Southland Conference Tournament. The event will be held starting on April 25 at the Thompson Family Tennis Center in Beaumont. The Lamar Cardinals will be the host institution, as the Islanders will look to earn their first ever trip to the NCAA Championships.
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