Elimination games can be incredibly intense and emotional, especially when the teams are even. Such was the case when No. 14 LSU women's tennis faced off against Michigan, who sat just six spots under them in the rankings and had a reasonable argument to be ranked higher.
In evenly matched competition, every point is likely to matter in the end. Going down 1-0 after doubles is never a good thing in tennis, as winning four out of six courts in singles is difficult.
The Tigers were in a rough position at the end of doubles. The doubles score was 1-1, with Court One going to Michigan and Court Five going to LSU, and Taylor Bridges and Paris Corley were struggling to finish the job on Court Three.
They won five games in a row but had just lost the last two and were struggling to regain the momentum. In an intense tenth game, the score was 40-40 with Michigan serving and many fans in attendance were expecting a fight for what could have been the match clinching point for LSU.
No. 14 LSU women's tennis (14-5) has their first match of the NCAA championships on Friday, …
But that did not happen. On the serve, the Michigan player faulted, then faulted again, and that gave LSU the doubles point.
Singles was completely even, and it was hard to tell who was going to end up winning their matches for the most part. The only matches to end in two sets were on Courts Two and Three.
No. 60 Paris Corley won her match with one tight, tiebreaker set and one set where she only lost one game, and Safiya Carrington lost two back-and-forth sets that could have gone either way. The Tigers would need two more points, with every remaining matchup being close.
The next point on the scoreboard would come from Court Four. After a dominant 6-0 sweep, Maggie Cubitt lost momentum, losing the second set and going down 3-5 in the third.
LSU women's tennis opened up NCAA championships play with what will likely be their lowest r…
With her match on the line, she stepped up, and the score soon reflected that. The score went from 3-5 to 5-5, and after she won one more game, she took the lead. She was confident at this point and took the last game with ease to extend the Tigers lead.
This would prove to be vital at the time, as the next two matches would go Michigan’s way and that would have meant the end for the Tigers if she hadn’t won. The match was tied at 3-3, with Court Six being the decider.
After suffering a close defeat in her first set, Nina Geissler caught fire in the second, winning nine of her next eleven games and beginning her third set with a 3-0 lead. But things began to unravel for her, as it appeared that she was not only tired, but limping.
Her lead slowly decreased, but she was still managing to win games. At one point, she was in prime position to take the match, with a 5-3 lead and one more point to go to clinch. But her opponent, Bella Lorenzini, managed to take that game and that would ultimately turn the tide in her favor.
Geissler would have some incredibly hard-fought next couple of games but could not finish one in her favor and eventually Lorenzini took the match 7-5, 1-6, 7-5.
It was a disappointing end to a historic season for the Tigers, but they proved once again that their ranking was deserved and that they could compete at a very high level of play. Each team had commendable performances and provided fans with one of the most entertaining matches of the year.