NACOGDOCHES, Texas -
Junior Alina Shazhko picked up win at No. 1 singles and doubles, but it would be the only wins the Stephen F. Austin Ladyjack tennis team could muster dropping a 6-1 decision to Texas-Arlington Sunday afternoon. The Ladyjacks dropped to 16-2 (.889) on the season, and 5-2 (.714) in Southland Conference play, while UTA improves to 8-0 in league play.
"I was really proud of how the girls competed this afternoon," said head coach Patrick Sullivan. "Obviously, we go into every match looking for the win, but I was proud of how the girls never stopped fighting even when we fell behind. They showed a lot of determination fighting through to the very last point.
"After yesterday's emotionally draining match which came down to the last point, I was concerned about how we would handle returning to the court so quickly. I really felt like we came into today's match focused and ready to play."
UTA jumped out to a 1-0 lead by taking the first two doubles matches, but the Ladyjacks rallied back to take some of the momentum heading into singles. The duo of junior Alina Shazhko and senior Alice Pacaut closed out the doubles' play with a close 6-5 victory.
SFA was unable to hold the momentum heading into singles play as Texas-Arlington won the next five matches. Freshman Ksenia Berestetska tried to stem the tide by forcing a third set at No. 3 singles, but fell short, 6-1, 3-6, 10-7, to UTA's Maria Martinez-Romero.
Shazhko was able to follow up her win at No. 1 doubles with a hard fought victory at the No. 1 singles position. After dropping the first set, 6-2, Shazhko rallied back in dominant fashion to take the second set, 6-1. The Ukrainian native never allowed UTA's top player to get back in the match taking the third, 10-3. The setback ended a modest three-match win streak for UTA's Daiana Negreanu, and was only her second loss in her last 11 matches. Shazhko has now won five-straight, and nine of her last 10 singles matches.
"We are definitely disappointed with today's outcome," said Shazhko, who improves to 15-2 on the season. "We knew coming into the match that they were a very good team. They are undefeated for a reason. I really felt like we came out ready to play, and battled hard, but we just came up a bit short. The most important thing that we can do now is forget about this loss and get ready for Northwestern State."
The Ladyjacks will look to return to the win column Saturday when they host Northwestern State. The match against the Lady Demons is slated to begin at 10 a.m. from the Schlief Tennis Complex.