WASHINGTON, D.C. - - It came down to the final match of the day, but the Wilmington University women's tennis team earned a signature win, 4-3, over nationally No. 15 District of Columbia, 4-3, on Wednesday afternoon at the Benning and Stoddert Recreation Center.
The two remaining undefeated teams in the East Region, the ITA Nationally Ranked No. 36 Wildcats and No. 15 UDC battled to the very end.
The Wildcats (11-0) earned the doubles point by sweeping the three doubles matches. The Firebirds (12-1) tied the match, 2-2, before the Wildcats took a 3-2 lead once again. UDC fought back and tied the match, 3-3, before Marley Trifunovic came back from a set down to win at No. 6 singles and earn the team victory, 4-3.
The duo of Valentina Ivankovic and Marley Trifunovic gave the Wildcats the advantage at No. 2 doubles, starting the winning with a 6-3 victory. Larize Nel and Fenna Swaan gave the Wildcats the doubles point with a 6-4 victory at No. 3 doubles over the 6th ranked doubles team in the East Region. But then Neus Ramos Moreno and Jess Purdy, the 8th ranked team in the East Region, gave the Wildcats the sweep with a 7-5 win at No. 1.
Valentina Ivankovic put the Wildcats ahead, 2-0, with a quick singles match at No. 4, winning 6-0 and 6-1. But then the Firebirds were able to get on the board, earning their first point of the day with a win at No. 1 singles in a matchup of regionally ranked opponents. UDC's Simone Parn, ranked No. 2, defeated No. 3 Neus Ramos Moreno, 6-2 and 6-4.
The Firebirds tied the match, 2-2, with a win at No. 5 singles, 6-4 and 7-6 (4). Jess Purdy put the Wildcats a point away from the team win with a comeback victory, dropping the first set, 4-6, but then coming back to win 6-2 and 6-1 at No. 3 singles. Begona Gomar couldn't hold off Mariona Franco Martin, ranked No. 19 in the East, at No. 2 singles, as the Firebirds tied the match, 3-3.
Marley Trifunovic dropped the first set, 4-6, but then battled back to win the match, 6-4 and 6-3, to give the victory to the Wildcats, 4-3.
Both Wilmington and UDC won their conference tournament in the fall and have earned automatic bids into the NCAA Regional Tournaments in May.
The Wildcats' spring season continues on Saturday, as they host NCAA Division I and instate foe Delaware State at the Delcastle Tennis Center. The first serve against the Hornets is scheduled for 2:00 p.m.