"To go for two years in a row without losing a conference match, and to win titles back-to-back-to-back, is an unbelievable accomplishment," said Mercer. "I am so proud of our team. We kept getting better and better as we went along. You have to give Eastern Michigan credit. They played really well, but that is what is great about (our) team, we never panic."
MU got off to a quick start, dominating the Eagles in doubles play. Alice Sukner (East Lansing, Mich.) and Lille Nzudie (Douala, Cameroon) led the way with an 8-0 victory over Amalia Lincaru and Jessica Loose at number two doubles. The number three Herd pairing of Danielle Hock (Wiggin, England) and Megan Skalsky (East Lansing, Mich.) followed suit with an 8-3 win of their own, and Marshall took a quick 1-0 advantage. Jessica Johnson (Sewickly, Pa.) and Ashley Kroh (Louisville, Ky.), the 28th-ranked doubles team in the nation, were up 7-3 in their match at number one doubles when it was stopped.
Singles play was a little tighter, as EMU took four of the six first sets, but Marshall kept its cushion by virtue of a 6-1, 6-1 victory at number six singles by Hock and another quick 6-1, 6-1 triumph by Kroh at number three. Eastern Michigan pulled a little closer with Victoria Domina's 6-4, 6-4 win over Johnson at number one singles and led in one of the three solo matches left on the floor. Sukner, however, sealed the MAC title with her 3-6, 6-1. 6-2 win over Lincaru at number two singles. Also, number five player Joelle Good (Zurich, Switzerland) had rallied from a 3-6 loss in the first set to win the second 6-0 and led the third 4-2 when Marshall clinched the title.
Marshall improves to 22-4, 12-0 in the MAC including the three wins in the tournament, and earns the MAC's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. The NCAA field will be announced on Wednesday, May 5. The Herd now has won three regular seasons MAC championships in women's tennis (2000, 2003 and 2004) and three consecutive tournament championships (2002, 2003 and 2004). They become the first Marshall Olympic Sports team in school history to advance to three consecutive NCAA post-season tournaments (football appeared in the I-AA football playoffs six consecutive years, 1991-96). Marshall is currently ranked 53rd in the nation by ITA.
(#1-SEED) MARSHALL 4, (#3-SEED) EASTERN MICHIGAN 1
1. Johnson/Kroh (MU) vs. Domina/Kansuthi (EMU) 7-3 DNF
2. Sukner/Nzudie (MU) def. Lincaru/Loose (EMU) 8-0
3. Hook/Megan Skalsky (MU) def. Clark/Marijana Adzic (EMU) 8-3
1. Victoria Domina (EMU) def. Jessica Johnson (MU) 6-4, 6-4
2. Alice Sukner (MU) def. Amalia Lincaru (EMU) 3-6, 6-1, 6-2
3. Ashley Kroh (MU) def. Ying Kansuthi (EMU) 6-1, 6-1
4. Jessica Loose (EMU) vs. Lille Nzudie (MU) 7-5, 1-3 DNF
5. Joelle Good (MU) vs. Kendra Clark (EMU) 3-6, 6-0, 4-2 DNF
6. Danielle Hook (MU) def. Laura Fernandez (EMU) 6-1, 6-1
RECORDS: Marshall now 22-4; Eastern Michigan finishes 16-6