The Lindsey Wilson women’s tennis team saw their 2015 campaign come to an end in the NAIA National Championship Semifinals on Saturday as they fell 5-2 to Auburn-Montgomery (Ala.) at the Mobile Tennis Center.
In a match that began on Friday afternoon and concluded 23 hours later, the third-seeded Blue Raiders (17-8) fought hard to stay alive but were ultimately eliminated by the second-seeded WarHawks (22-4).
Lindsey Wilson played five complete points on Friday afternoon before lightning and rain suspended play until 11 a.m. CT on Saturday.
The WarHawks had built a 3-2 advantage, winning two of three doubles matches and a singles match on Friday.
Lindsey Wilson grabbed the first point of the match with an 8-2 win at the No. 2 doubles flight by Henar Munoz and Fiona Curty. But AUM answered minutes later with an 8-3 win at No. 1 doubles to bring the match level at 1-1.
The third-seeded Blue Raiders double pairing of Alicia Rodriguez and Ana Helena Pinto fought all the way back from being down 7-2 to tie the match 7-7, but the WarHawks pulled away for the 9-7 victory to claim the 2-1 match advantage.
Once in singles play, Munoz grabbed the first win with a 6-3, 6-1 win at the No. 1 position to tie things up 2-2. But shortly after Curty fell at the No. 3 position to give the lead back to AUM at 3-2.
The other four singles matches were able to complete at least one set each before the rain delay, with the Blue Raiders up a set in two and down a set in two.
Rodriguez just completed a set one victory on court two, while Pinto also won her opening set on court six just before the delay.
On court five, Anna Gaprindashvili was down a set and trailed 3-0 in set two while Jessica King was also down a set but held a 2-1 set two lead before the delay.
As play resumed on Saturday, the Blue Raiders needed to win three of the four final singles matches to advance to the first national championship match in program history.
Gaprindashvili fell behind 5-1 in set two before battling back and coming within one at 5-4, but ultimately fell 6-4 to give AUM the set and put the WarHawks ahead 4-2 in the overall match.
King extended her lead in set two to 4-1 and even led 5-3 with set point, but her AUM counterpart battled back and won four-straight points to take the set 7-5 and clinch the match for the WarHawks 5-2.
Before the decisive point, Rodriguez was ahead a set and up 4-3 in set two at the No. 2 singles position, while Pinto remained up a set and trailed 4-3 in set two at the No. 6 position.
The loss marks just the first time all year the Blue Raiders have fallen to NAIA competition.
Lindsey Wilson concludes the 2015 season with a 17-8 record.