April 6, 2018

MURFREESBORO, N.C. – A beautiful day for tennis at Elizabeth City State University as the Lady Bulldogs of Bowie State University arrived with one conference win under their belt against Livingstone College and a 3-7 overall record. The Lady Vikings were 0-5 going into the day’s double header.

The first match began with doubles at 10am. ECSU’s Caroline Cowan and Brianna Henderson were able to get things started with a win on the No. 1 court over BSU’s Kayla Bridgett and Madeleine Ndema, 8-5.

“Caroline is a really strong player with excellent court sense. She created a lot of opportunities for Brianna up at the net, and Brianna, being a senior captain, does a great job of putting the ball away,” head coach Richard Harfst said. “Caroline also does a really nice job of defending space. If Brianna was passed at the net Caroline pretty much always had her back and kept them in the point.”

A new partnership between Elizabeth City State’s freshmen Sar OO and Isabella Barragan found success on the No. 3 doubles court. They defeated Jocelyn Williams and Bianca Tucker, 8-2.

“I think both Isabella and Sar have really enjoyed getting better every day. It was nice to see them playing well, and enjoying themselves out there,” Harfst commented.

The Lady Vikings went into singles play with a 2-1 advantage. Cowan, Oo, and Barragan were all able to secure their singles courts in order to clinch the dual match 5-4 just before 1:00 p.m.

After a brief lunch break both coaches agreed to play a shortened format with each court being decided by an 8 game pro set for the second dual match of the double header.

Again, the Lady Vikings were able to go up 2-1 after doubles play.

“Bowie took the No. 2 doubles court off ECSU’s senior Jocelyn Lewis and Tenel Kearney. But, I think that is the best match I have seen them play all season. I wanted the win for them, but that was some solid tennis they played,” Harfst stated. “Also, it was great to see senior Vanisha Berry get the win on court No. 3 with Isabella. It was her first win of the season, and it put a smile on my face seeing how thrilled she was.”

The singles courts fell in the same sequence during the second dual match, and the Lady Vikings improved their record to 2-5 on the season qualifying them for the conference tournament.

When asked what the difference was in the performance today Coach Harfst said with a huge smile on his face, “Honestly, it’s pretty simple. The team motivated themselves. It’s been a tough season with injuries and illnesses."

"We haven’t had our full line up available since the first match of the season, but this is a really diverse group of skill sets and personalities. This was on them today. Coaching didn’t have a lot to do with it. I thought every single player played their best tennis of the season.”

The Lady Vikings will travel to Virginia Union on Tuesday, April 10. Union took the home opener 6-3 on March 9th at ECSU.

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