Texans advance to WAC Tournament Championship, fend off UTA in semifinals Friday


HARLINGEN – The Texans are title match bound for the second straight year after fending off UT Arlington 4-2 in the WAC Tournament Semifinals on Friday.

The semifinals match between the 2-seed Texans (17-3, 6-1 WAC) and 3-seed Mavericks (15-8, 4-3 WAC) lived up to the billing, a back-and-forth affair that eventually went to the Purple and White.

Tarleton State is now WAC Tournament Championship bound, where they’ll meet 1-seed Grand Canyon on Saturday at 12 p.m. at the HEB Tennis Center in Harlingen. This will be a WAC title rematch from a year ago.

“What an incredible effort from our entire team,” head coach Elianne Douglas-Miron said. “We knew the doubles point would be important to help give us momentum. Once we secured the doubles point, Elsa [Boisson] and Noelia [Lorca] kept us going by securing their first sets against very solid opponents. I am very proud of Emma [Persson] and Ximena [Morales] for fighting back after dropping their first set. And what an effort from Clara [Sobius]. She was down 0-5 in the 3rd set, put her head down and fought point by point, ultimately securing the match.

“Our energy was through the roof,” Douglas-Miron continued. “We competed up and down the lineup. The humidity was a big part of the challenge today but we handled it face on and came out on top. I am so proud of this team and can’t wait to get out on court one more time tomorrow!”

This was the second time in less than a month that Tarleton took down the Mavericks, a 4-2 win this time after a 5-2 victory on the road on March 24. Tarleton State has won three straight matches and eight of their last nine, all since conference play began in the regular season.

Unlike the match played about a month ago, the Texans took the doubles point to start with the early lead. Martha Makantasi and Maretha Burger began with a 6-4 win on Court 1 over Bruna Casasampere and Francisca Vergara, then Lorca and Persson clinched the point with a 6-3 win on Court 3 over Ana Paula Jimenez and Sarina Reinertsen. The match on Court 2 went unfinished between Tarleton’s Boisson and Morales and UTA’s Tara Gorinsek and Mariana Manyoma-Velasquez, with the UTA pair leading 6-5.

Makantasi and Burger improved to 15-5 in doubles as a pair, all at the No. 1 position, while Lorca and Persson improved to 14-3, all at No. 3.

To start singles, Tarleton’s All-WAC Singles First Team athlete Makantasi took a rare loss. Manyoma-Velasquez took her down 6-4 6-4 on Court 3, dropping her to 15-4 on the season, to make the team score 1-1.

Like the last time against UTA, Lorca once again won over Paula Jimenez due to retirement. The Texan junior won the first set 6-4 before the Maverick dropped out, boosting the Texans ahead 2-1 and Lorca to an 18-2 singles record this season.

UTA got the point right back on Court 5, as Casasampere defeated Morales 6-0, 3-6, 6-3.

The Texans won the next two singles matches to take the team victory. Persson rallied from a 2-6 first set loss to take down Gorinsek on the top court 2-6 6-4 6-0. Then Sobius clinched the WAC Tournament Semifinals match with a comeback victory of her own against Ioana Dumitrescu 4-6 6-2 7-5 on Court 6.

The final singles match on Court 2 went unfinished between Boisson and Reinertsen, a nailbiter. Boisson held the slightest of leads 6-1 1-6 6-6(5-3).

The Texans and Lopes now meet again in the WAC Tournament Championship. GCU won the tightest of matches possible in the title bout last year 4-3. Tarleton led 3-2 with two singles matches left to finish. The two deciding matches were between both teams’ best players on Courts 1-2. GCU won on Court 1 to tie it at 3-3. On Court 2, Makantasi held off defeat five times, forcing a third set tiebreaker, which she eventually dropped 7-4.

Tarleton and GCU played in Phoenix less than two weeks ago, on April 7. The Lopes, now 21-2 and 7-0 in WAC play, won 7-0.

Admission is free for the WAC Tournament Championship. The match will be streamed on ESPN+,

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