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HomeCollegeBreaking serve: Mountaineers rally for Sun Belt road win at Troy, 4-3

Breaking serve: Mountaineers rally for Sun Belt road win at Troy, 4-3

By Joey Jones for App State Sports. TROY, Ala. — Helena Jansen and the App State tennis team were not going to go down without a fight. And as it turned out, they didn’t go down at all.

The Mountaineers (6-5, 3-1 Sun Belt) came from behind to tie their road match at Troy (8-5, 1-3 Sun Belt) three times before Jansen overcame a first-set loss in her No. 1 singles match against the Trojans’ Kristina Kukaras to send App State to a thrilling 4-3 victory at the Lunsford Tennis Complex.

“First of all, I just want to give credit to Troy,” said App State head coach Ashleigh Antal, whose squad has already matched its league win total from last year. “They are an incredibly tough team, and playing them on the road is one of the toughest matches on our schedule. I’m so proud of the way we competed today, and the way we trusted the process through rough patches in the match. This was a really complete road win for us and definitely one we’ll remember. This is a huge confidence booster for us going into the rest of the season.”

Troy started the day by winning the doubles point and giving the Mountaineers their first dose of adversity to overcome.

With all six singles courts in action, the first to finish was App State’s Erika Dodridge with an easy 6-0, 6-1 win over Troy’s Olivia Elliott at No. 5 to tie the team score at 1-1.

Troy regained a 2-1 lead at court four with Maria Guirguis’ 6-3, 6-4 win over Virginia Poggi before Savannah Dada-Mascoll drew the teams even again with a 6-0, 6-2 win over Hagar Amin at No. 2. It was Dada-Mascoll’s eighth win in nine singles finishes this season, with her only defeat coming to a top-20 ranked Anika Yarlagadda of top-ranked UNC.

A Trojan win on court six (Franziska Ahrend’s 6-4, 6-1 win over Ellie Murphy) pulled the Trojans within one singles match of a team victory, but the Mountaineers had a pair of seniors still battling it out on courts one and three.

Maggie Pate earned a hard-fought 6-3, 7-6 win over Valeriia Avdeeva on court three to make it 3-3 overall with just court one left in play.

Jansen had dropped her first set to Kukaras 6-1 before bouncing back with a 6-3 win in the second to set up the thrilling finale. With all eyes on the final two competitors, Jansen broke serve multiple times in route to a 6-2 triumph and an exuberant celebration by the visiting Mountaineers on court one.

App State will try to make it back-to-back road wins with a trip to Georgia State on Sunday. The match has been shifted to an 11 a.m. start in Atlanta.

Follow all the action this season on Twitter (@AppWTennis), Instagram (@appwtennis) and appstatesports.com.


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