BATON ROUGE - The LSU women's tennis team (3-0) defeated SMU (1-2) after battling back from early Mustang success to take the match, 4-3.
"We got affirmation that what we've been working on is what we need to do," head coach Julia S. Sell said. "(SMU) is a heck of a team. They battle, they're all solid and they all know how to win. On paper, they're a much more talented and experienced team than we are, but we out-competed them at certain spots. That's what you have to do to win matches."
The Lady Tigers split the first two doubles matches of the day, as the Kaitlin Burns and Caroline Hudson duo fell 8-4 to Elena Fayner and Edyta Cieplucha of SMU and the court one pair of Ariel Hudson and Mary Jeremiah triumphed 8-3 over SMU's Aleksandra Malyarchikova and Vaszilisza Bulgakova.
Seniors Ebie Wilson and Keri Frankenberger fought through a nail-biting tiebreaker against the Mustangs' Holly Verner and Hristina Dishkova, but could not secure the doubles point as they faced an 8-7 (8-6) loss.
Freshman Ella Taylor put the Lady Tigers on the board as she secured the first singles win of the day and her 10th LSU career win, a quick 6-2, 6-1 victory against SMU's Bulgakova on court three.
Two Mustang wins followed, bringing SMU within a point of clinching the match. Jeremiah faced a 6-2, 6-3 loss to SMU's Cieplucha, and No. 112 Burns fell 6-4, 6-3 to Malyarchikova of SMU.
Morton brought back steam for the Lady Tigers as she recovered from a 6-0 loss in the first set to tally 6-2, 7-5 scores in the second and third sets and win the match over Yana Erkeeva.
Tying the match 3-3 was freshman Caroline Hudson, who notched a third-set win over Dishkova of SMU 6-4, 2-6, 6-3.
Wilson faced a match-deciding third set as the only court still in play, with her first two sets marking 3-6, 7-5 scores. The senior battled SMU's Fayner and ultimately took the third set 6-3, notched her 40th career win and clinched the match for the Lady Tigers.
"If there's anybody you want up last in your match, it's Ebie (Wilson)," Sell said. "She understands how to win, she knows what works for her and she fights like crazy. She's great competitor. The momentum shift today and the highlight to me was Ariel (Morton). She came out nervous in doubles and worked through it. In singles, she kept sticking to her game plan and eventually it worked for her. It takes a lot of courage to do that. She did it beautifully, and I thought that changed the whole match."
The No. 46 Lady Tigers will next see action Wednesday at 3:30 p.m. CT as LSU faces No. 59 Tulane in the team's first road match of the season.
For the latest information on the women's tennis team, follow the Lady Tigers on Twitter @lsuwten and @LSUJuliaSell and on www.Facebook.com/lsuwten.
LSU 4, SMU 3
1. Aleksandra Malyarchikova (SMU) def. #112 Kaitlin Burns (LSU) 6-4, 6-3
2. Edyta Cieplucha (SMU) def. Mary Jeremiah (LSU) 6-2, 6-3
3. Ella Taylor (LSU) def. Vaszilisza Bulgakova (SMU) 6-2, 6-1
4. Ariel Morton (LSU) def. Yana Erkeeva (SMU) 0-6, 6-2, 7-5
5. Ebie Wilson (LSU) def. Elena Fayner (SMU) 3-6, 7-5, 6-3
6. Caroline Hudson (LSU) def. Hristina Dishkova (SMU) 6-4, 2-6, 6-3
1. Ariel Morton/Mary Jeremiah (LSU) def. Aleksandra Malyarchikova/Vaszilisza Bulgakova (SMU) 8-3
2. Elena Fayner/Edyta Cieplucha (SMU) def. Kaitlin Burns/Caroline Hudson (LSU) 8-4
3. Holly Verner/Hristina Dishkova (SMU) def. Ebie Wilson/Keri Frankenberger (LSU) 8-7 (8-6)
Order of finish: Doubles (2,1,3); Singles (3,2,1,6,4,5)