CONWAY, Ark. – No. 68 FGCU women’s tennis rallied for a 4-3 win over Central Arkansas on Thursday.
With Thursday’s win, FGCU improved to 13-6 overall and 7-1 in the ASUN, capturing its fourth-straight match victory. The Bears dropped to 12-10 in the loss and 4-4 in the ASUN.
“Today was a fight,” head coach Courtney Vernon said. “The ladies stepped in and took the match in singles. Congratulations to Ida today for clinching the match for the team. She played brave. We are looking forward to playing again tomorrow morning to close out our regular season.”
The Green and Blue fell behind early, 2-0, after dropping both the doubles point and the first singles match to start the afternoon.
Fanny Norin, Jordana Ossa, Ida Ferding and Alba Retortillo each won their singles match to lift FGCU to the 4-3 win.
Norin notched her 10th-straight singles victory, her 17th of the season, to break the Bear momentum. She was victorious in straight sets, 6-3 and 6-3 on court No. 3. She also improved to 8-0 in ASUN singles.
Ossa and Retortillo also won in straight sets, Ossa winning 6-2, 7-5 and Retortillo winning 6-4, 6-4. Ossa’s singles victory tied the match at two apiece, and Retortillo’s win gave the Eagles a 3-2 lead.
Ahead 3-2, Ida Ferding would seal the deal for the Eagles with a three-set victory, 6-7, 6-3 and 6-0.
Entering today’s match, FGCU was tied for first place in the ASUN along with Stetson, Liberty and North Florida at 6-1 in the conference. Both Stetson and North Florida won today to improve to 7-1 alongside first-place FGCU. Liberty dropped to 6-2 following a loss 6-1 loss to North Florida.
Stetson will battle Liberty (17-6, 6-2 ASUN) on the road, and North Florida will travel to Bellarmine (1-21, 0-8 ASUN). Both matches are scheduled for Saturday. An Eagle win on Friday at North Alabama would clinch at least a share of the ASUN regular-season title for the Green and Blue.
If a tie atop of the standings occurs, co-champions will be declared. For the purposes of seeding in the ASUN Championship, head-to-head tiebreakers will result among teams involved in the tie and then the ITA rankings.
Having already clinched a spot in the conference championship, FGCU holds the head-to-head seeding tiebreaker over both Stetson and Liberty.
The ASUN Championship will be held in Fort Myers, Florida, on April 22-24 as the Eagles are set to host the conference championship at the FGCU Tennis Complex.
The Eagles now travel to face North Alabama on Friday for its final match of the regular season, seeking its third ASUN regular-season title in program history. Friday’s first serve is set for 11 a.m.
FGCU 4, Central Arkansas 3
1. Chunxi Xin (UCA) def. BARDET, Emma (FGCU) 6-2, 6-1
2. Fuka Nonoyama (UCA) def. COLMENARES, Isabella (FGCU) 7-6, 7-5, 6-1
3. NORIN, Fanny (FGCU) def. Jaeun Lee (UCA) 6-3, 6-3
4. FERDING, Ida (FGCU) def. Yada Vasupongchai (UCA) 7-6, 6-3, 6-0
5. OSSA, Jordana (FGCU) def. Sumomo Hamanaga (UCA) 6-2, 7-5
6. Retortillo, Alba (FGCU) vs. Maja Gledic (UCA) 6-4, 6-4
1. BARDET, Emma/FERDING, Ida (FGCU) def. Chunxi Xin / Fuka Nonoyama (UCA) 6-4
2. Yada Vasupongchai / Mei Ishimura RETORTILLO, (UCA) def. Alba/MACIAS, Gabriela (FGCU) 6-2
3. Maja Gledic / Sumomo Hamanaga (UCA) def. OSSA, Jordana/NORIN, Fanny (FGCU) 6-4
Order of finish: Doubles (2,1,3); Singles (1,3,5,6,4,2)
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HEAD COACH COURTNEY VERNON
FGCU’s women’s tennis team is led by three-time ASUN Coach of the Year Courtney Vernon (9th season) who led the Eagles to back-to-back ASUN regular-season crowns in her fifth season in 2018. She has mentored her student-athletes into earning 63 ASUN All-Conference and All-Academic honors, including 2014, 2016, and 2017 ASUN Freshman of the Year as well as the 2016, 2017 and 2019 Scholar-Athlete of the Year and the 2018 Player of the Year. Vernon has led the Green and Blue to an 96-66 overall record (.593) and 43-10 conference record (.811).
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FGCU teams have combined to win an incredible 87 conference regular season and tournament titles in just 14+ seasons at the Division I level. Additionally, in just nine seasons of D-I postseason eligibility, the Eagles have had a combined 43 teams or individuals compete in NCAA championships. Eight FGCU programs have earned a top-25 national ranking in their respective sport – including women’s basketball (No. 25, 2021-22), beach volleyball (No. 20, 2021) and both men’s soccer (2018, 2019) and women’s soccer (2018) as three of the most recent. In 2016-17, the Green and Blue posted a department-best sixth-place finish in the DI-AAA Learfield Directors’ Cup and top-100 showing nationally, ahead of several Power-5 and FBS institutions. In 2018-19, the Eagles had an ASUN and state of Florida best seven teams earn the NCAA’s Public Recognition Award for their Academic Progress Rate in their sport. FGCU also collectively earned a record 3.50 GPA in the classroom in the fall 2020 semester and has outperformed the general University undergraduate population for 24 consecutive semesters. The 2019 Fall, 2020 Spring, 2020 Fall, and 2021 Spring semesters each saw another milestone reached as all 15 programs achieved a 3.0-or-higher team GPA in each. The Eagles also served an all-time high 7,200 volunteer hours in 2017 – being recognized as one of two runners-up for the inaugural NACDA Community Service Award presented by the Fiesta Bowl.