SAVANNAH, Ga. - The No. 2-ranked and two-time defending NCAA Division II national champion Armstrong Atlantic State University opened up NCAA play with a 5-0 win over No. 39 Tusculum on Sunday morning at Bacon Park.
The Pirates (24-1) advance to the NCAA Southeast Region #1 final, taking on Francis Marion - 5-3 winners over Wingate in Sunday's other contest - at 2:00 p.m. on Monday at Bacon Park. Tusculum sees its season come to a close with a 22-3 record. The win extends Armstrong's current home match win streak to 136 matches, dating back to 2003.
Armstrong took a 3-0 lead after doubles play, picking up wins in all three doubles matches. The newly-minted top-ranked doubles duo in the nation, Aleksandra Filipovski and Barbora Krtickova, blanked Kealee Heffner and Kate Hutchinson, 8-1, at No. 1 doubles. The win was a milestone win for Krtickova as she became the first Armstrong tennis player to win 300 combined singles and doubles matches in a career, men or women.
The No. 8-ranked duo of Marlen Hacke and Olga Kalodzitsa knocked off Adrienne Kaye and Erin Mills, 8-4, at No. 2 doubles, while Clara Perez and Carolina Prats-Millan blanked Amanda Sumner and Emily Waters, 8-0, at No. 3 doubles.
The Pirates then notched two quick singles wins to clinch the victory. No. 2-ranked Filipovski downed Baker, 6-0, 6-0, at No. 1 singles, while Kalodzitsa blanked Sumner, 6-0, 6-0, at No. 6 singles.
Armstrong and Francis Marion play on Monday for a berth into the NCAA Round of 16 in Altamonte Springs, Fla., on May 14-17. The two teams met during the regular season as Armstrong won, 9-0, on April 12, as well as the semifinals of the PBC Tournament in which the Pirates won, 6-0, on April 18.