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Spartan Women defeat Savannah State 4-2 in final spring break match

SAVANNAH, Ga. – Paula Fortuno clinched the decisive point for the Norfolk State women’s team on Sunday as the Spartans ended their long spring break road trip with a 4-2 victory over Savannah State at the Tiger Tennis Courts.

Fortuno claimed a straight-set victory over Lili-Morgan Pastore 6-4, 7-6 (7-4) at the No. 3 singles position.

The Spartans improved to 1-5 on the season after dropping their first five matches of the season, including the first four of the week at the USTA National campus in Orlando, Fla. Norfolk State did not win a match in the first three contests, losing by 7-0 scores to Evansville on Tuesday and Hampton and Duquesne on Wednesday. The Spartans lost a tightly-contested match against Mount St. Mary’s 4-3 on Thursday, before breaking through with the victory on Sunday in Georgia.

The Spartans won four of the six singles matches to earn the victory over SSU on Sunday. They jumped out to a 3-0 lead with victories at the sixth, fifth and fourth positions, respectively. The Lady Tigers fought back taking the next two matches at the second and first positions before Fortuno secured the clinching point.

Liza Gordeeva earned a point for the Spartans by default at No. 6, before Aranza Mellet defeated Jennyfer Vivas in straight sets 6-1, 6-0 at No. 5. Bruna Goncalves gave Norfolk State a 3-0 lead after her straight-set win over Bria Burrows at No. 4, 6-1, 6-2.

Savannah State climbed back in the match with victories by Sandy Lochu over Dajana Cvjetkovic and Rachida El Kateb over Ana Popovic. Playing at the top position, Lochu defeated Cvjetkovic 6-2, 6-2, while El Kateb defeated Popovic at the No. 2 position, 6-4, 6-2.

Here is a look at the week’s earlier matches:

Mount St. Mary’s 4, NSU 3
In doubles action, Mount St. Mary’s took both contested matches. Alexa Quintanilla and Sruthi Kamprath defeated Norfolk State’s Cvjetkovic and Goncalves 6-4 at No. 1 doubles, while the Spartans’ No. 2 duo of Popovic and Fortuno forced a tiebreaker before falling 7-6 (7-3) to Erin Benefiel and Kelly Smith.

Popovic, Fortuno and Goncalves claimed straight-set victories at the No. 2, No. 3 and No. 4 positions, respectively. Popovic defeated Smith 6-4, 6-1, while Fortuno claimed a 6-0, 6-1 victory over Kamprath. Goncalves was tested by Benefiel, but came out triumphant with a 7-5, 6-4 decision. But wins at Nos. 1, 5 and 6, the latter by default, gave the Mountaineers the win.

Duquesne 7, NSU 0
The Dukes handled Norfolk State by winning both doubles matches by identical 6-1 scores and four of the five contested singles matches in straight sets. Fortuno provided the Spartans’ stiffest challenge, before falling 3-6, 7-5 and 0-1 (4-10) to Megan Wasson at the No. 3 position.

Evansville 7, NSU 0
Norfolk State dropped all nine sets against the Purple Aces for its second consecutive 7-0 loss of the week. In doubles action, Evansville defeated Norfolk State in all three matches with the top position being the only tightly-contested match. Norfolk State’s duo of Cvjetkovic and Gordeeva forced a tiebreaker, splitting the first 12 games 6-6. However, Evansville’s Theodora Soldatou and Chieko Yamada claimed the victory by taking the tiebreaker 7-4.

Cvjetkovic also forced a tiebreaker in her singles match at the No. 1 position against Yamada. Cvjetkovic won the first set 6-1 and Yamada returned the favor, winning the second set by the identical score. Yamada won the tiebreaker 10-8. Popovic, playing at the No. 4 singles position, was the only other Spartan to force a third set. She dropped the first set against Daria Pentsova 6-4, but battled back with a 6-2 second set victory. In the third set, Pentsova claimed a 10-7 victory.

Hampton 7, NSU 0
Norfolk State dropped all seven points in the opening match of the week, including straight-set losses in four of five singles sets. At the No. 1 singles position, Cvjetkovic forced Hampton’s Kristina Titova to a third-set tiebreaker before falling 3-6, 6-4, 0-1 (7-10). Hampton also won both doubles matches, with a 6-0 victory for Mariam Mitaishvili and Titova at the No. 1 position over Cvjetkovic and Goncalves. Mikaela Pierce and Cherise Slocombe defeated Norfolk State’s No. 2 duo of Popovic and Fortuno 6-4.

The Spartans will face James Madison in their next match on March 25 at 2 p.m. in Harrisonburg, Va.
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