Tarleton Shocks Belmont in Epic Match to Finish 2-0 in Nashville


NASHVILLE – Belmont had cruised through their first two matches against Middle Tennessee and Lee, but Tarleton proved early Saturday they would be no pushover.

As part of an epic match that had several ups and downs and a final singles match that came down to the wire with the team score tied 3-3, the Texans shocked the Bruins on the road, winning the match 4-3. Celia Vaudiau had the clinching match to give the Texans the win, letting out a furious cry of victory as her teammates danced around her.

“What a great match,” head coach Elianne Douglas-Miron said. “Every single court fought so hard from the first point to the last. I am so proud of how we played and how we competed. We wanted to win and it showed. This match is what college tennis is all about.”

Tarleton improved to 3-2 on the season, all matches coming away from home, with the two losses at the hands of top-20 ranked Power Five programs. Belmont dropped its first match of the year, now 2-1.

To start Saturday’s match at the Hadley Park Tennis Center in Nashville, Tarleton’s No. 1 doubles team did its usual thing – win. Deniza Marcinkevica and Jemi Aguilar beat Anastasiya Zholdakova and Viktoria Kliimand 6-3. Marcinkevica and Aguilar have yet to lose this season, spotting a perfect 3-0 record.

However, it was the Bruins who took the doubles point, getting wins in the Nos. 2 and 3 position. In No. 2, Belmont’s Gina Feistel and Meredith Roberts took down Natalia Komar and Faustine Palatte 6-3. In No. 3, Somer Henry and Peyton Lee beat Tarleton’s Martha Makantasi and Elsa Boisson 6-4.

Boisson rebounded from her doubles loss by dominating her singles opponent in the No. 4 position, beating Roberts 6-2, 6-0. Over the two matches in Nashville, the sophomore won both matches in straight sets, allowing her opponents to win just four games combined overall. She’s now 3-2 on the year in singles.

Tarleton’s top player, Marcinkevica, gutted out an early set win in tiebreaker fashion. Her opponent, Feistel, got the second set back, before Marcinkevica put it to bed in the third, winning the match 7-6, 4-6, 6-2. She’s also 3-2 on the season.

Aguilar and Komar competed but didn’t have much luck Saturday, with Aguilar losing 4-6, 3-6 to Henry in the No. 2 slot, Komar losing 0-6, 2-6 to Lee in the No. 6 position.

The Bruins led 3-2, needing to just split the final two matches between the No. 3 and No. 5 position players to get the win.

Makantasi and Vaudiau had other plans.

Makantasi had a match for the ages against Zholdakova, both playing elite tennis the entirety of the match. The set scores showed as much, with Makantasi coming out on top 6-7, 7-5, 6-4. The sophomore is 3-2 on the season thus far.

With the team match tied 3-3, it was all up to Vaudiau to finish the job for Tarleton. Good thing the Texan junior has nerves of steel. The recent WAC Singles Athlete of the Week played Kliimand neck-and-neck, getting the better of the Bruin 7-6, 7-6. The purple and white couldn’t have been happier as a team for the win and for Vaudiau, who improved to 3-1 on the season, the best singles record for the Texans in 2022.

The road slate continues for Tarleton, with three matches in three straight days starting Friday at Tyler Junior College at 2 p.m. CT. On Saturday, they’ll be at Louisiana Tech at 11 a.m. CT, followed by a match at Grambling State on Sunday, start time to be decided.

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