MOBILE, Ala. ------ For the first time since 1996, the Auburn Montgomery women's tennis team will not be playing for the NAIA National Championship, as it was upset by Embry-Riddle 5-3 in the quarterfinals of the NAIA Women's Tennis National Championship Tournament Thursday.
The loss ended the Warhawks season at 19-8, a mark which included a 6-6 record against ranked opponents from the NCAA Division II and II, as well as the NAIA. The defeat was also just the second of the year against a NAIA foe.
In the doubles portion of the match, AUM fell behind 2-1 after the completion.
The freshman duo of Paula Diaz and Anna Rudolfova were defeated at the top position, 8-1, by the NAIA's top team Hui-I Huang and Kristina Marova. AUM's Jade Curtis and Bright Phakamad upset the No. 22 team of Paola Montero and Anna Gotz, 8-3, at the No. 2 position and tied the match at one, but Celine Lenertz and Chanel Cunningham fell at the third spot, 8-6.
In singles play, Cunningham tied the match with a 6-0, 6-2 victory at the No. 3 position, before Curtis took down Huang at the top spot in straight sets and gave the Warhawks a 3-2 lead.
However, the Eagles (17-5) rallied for the final three points to secure the match. Paula Ortiz Couder tied the score at 3-3 with a 6-3, 6-2, victory over Phakamad at the No. 6 position, while Lenertz fell shortly after to Eva Vilar at the No. 4 spot. Despite winning the first set, the match was decided when Rudolfova fell to Montero 4-6, 6-3, 6-1 at the fifth position. At the No. 2 position, Diaz took the first set of her match, but play stopped after the deciding point was secured.
The contest marked the final collegiate match for the three-time national champion Curtis and fellow senior Cunningham. A four-year standout, Curtis finished her career with an 82-5 singles record and an 83-8 record in doubles play. Cunningham was also dynamic for the Warhawks, finishing 33-10 in singles play and 30-20 in doubles matches.
1. #1 Hui-I Huang/Kristina Marova (ERUW) def. Paula Diaz/Anna Rudolfova (AUMW) 8-1
2. Jade Curtis/Bright Phakamad (AUMW) def. #22 Paola Montero/Anna Gotz (ERUW) 8-3
3. Eva Vilar/Paula Ortiz Couder (ERUW) def. Celine Lenertz/Chanel Cunningham (AUMW) 8-6
1. #1 Jade Curtis (AUMW) def. #18 Hui-I Huang (ERUW) 6-3, 6-1
2. #31 Paula Diaz (AUMW) vs. #20 Anna Gotz (ERUW) 7-6, 1-2, unfinished
3. #34 Chanel Cunningham (AUMW) def. Kristina Marova (ERUW) 6-0, 6-2
4. Eva Vilar (ERUW) def. Celine Lenertz (AUMW) 6-3, 6-4
5. Paola Montero (ERUW) def. Anna Rudolfova (AUMW) 4-6, 6-3, 6-1
6. Paula Ortiz Couder (ERUW) def. Bright Phakamad (AUMW) 6-3, 6-2
Order of Finish: Doubles (1,2,3); Singles (3,1,6,4,5)