Tampa, Fla.--The resilient Georgia State women's tennis team fought back from losing the doubles point and from a 3-2 deficit to knock off No. 37 South Florida with a 4-3 victory on Sunday in Tampa, Fla.
Georgia State (9-6) junior Whitney Byrd clinched the match with a 6-3, 3-6, 6-2 win at No. 3 singles over USF sophomore Franny Fracassi. Fracassi was 13-4 in singles matches this season, including a perfect 6-0 in the No. 3 slot, heading into Sunday's match. Byrd's win, which improved her to 9-6 this season in singles play, capped a stellar rally from the Panthers against the 37th-ranked Bulls (13-7).
Sophomore Abigail Tere-Apisah started the rally after she was facing a 5-0 deficit in the third set with the Panthers trailing 3-2 in the team score. Tere-Apisah, the No. 39-ranked player in the ITA Women's Singles rankings, was facing USF junior Ecaterina Vasenina, the No. 41-ranked player in those same rankings. But the Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, native staved off elimination by winning seven straight games to secure a 3-6, 6-3, 7-5 victory in the No. 1 singles slot.
Tere-Apisah's victory was her fourth over a ranked singles opponent this season as she improved to 14-1 overall. At No. 41, Vasenina was the highest-ranked opponent to fall to Tere-Apisah this season.
Prior to Tere-Apisah's comeback win and Byrd's clincher, Georgia State received two victories from freshmen to put it in a position to win 4-3. First, freshman Masa Grgan won 6-4, 6-2 in the No. 5 singles slot against sophomore Alessandra Bonte. It was Grgan's ninth victory on the season and her seventh in her last ten matches.
Just prior to that, classmate Chaimaa Roudami earned a 6-2, 6-3 win in the No. 6 singles slot vs. USF freshman Paula Montoya. Roudami finishes her first regular season with a superb 11-4 singles record and looks to improve it in less than two weeks at the CAA Championships.
South Florida is the highest-ranked opponent that Georgia State has defeated since it won 4-2 vs. No. 35-ranked VCU in last season's CAA Championship. Georgia State's victory over South Florida marks its third over a ranked opponent this season.
The Panthers now begin preparations for the CAA Championships hosted by Old Dominion University from April 19-22. Visit the women's tennis page on www.GeorgiaStateSports.com for full coverage of GSU's play during the 2012 CAA Championships.