Tucson, AZ—The Marion Military Institute Lady Tigers put the finishing touches on their magnificent and historic season by breaking into the upper echelon (the top ten) of the NJCAA women's tennis standings. The Lady Tigers scored 21 points at the Reffkin Tennis Center en route to a ninth-place finish, the highest final ranking in their decade-long history.
Larcombe notched wins over Jordyn Hull of Meridian Community College (6-1, 6-0), 6th-seeded Zahra Finnigan of Seminole State College (6-4, 7-5), and 3rd-seeded Anita Detlava of St. Petersburg College (6-3, 6-0). Larcombe fell 6-2, 6-0 in her semifinal match to Kolani Soli, the tournament's No. 1 seed and eventual champion from Tyler Junior College.
Lin also scored a number of impressive wins in the main draw at the No. 6 spot before falling in the semifinals. Lin reeled off wins against Micah Gray of Meridian Community College (6-1, 6-0), 6th-seeded Fernanda Santana of Seward County Community College (7-6 , 6-2), and 4th-seeded Monica Diaz of St. Petersburg College (6-0, 2-6, 6-2). Lin lost in the semifinals to Elena Tendera of Tyler Junior College, 6-0, 6-3.
"I was very impressed by the play of Alana Larcombe and Rebecca Lin during the course of the tournament," said Marion Military Institute head coach Charles Wright. "Both of them defeated players from the No. 3-ranked team in the nation, St. Petersburg College, and lost to players from the No. 1-ranked team in the nation, Tyler Junior College. Larcombe demolished Detlava by playing solidly from the baseline, and Lin outlasted Diaz by pulverizing the Diaz backhand. Lin won the last six games after losing eight of the previous ten games."
Also having a tremendous run in the tournament was Paola Bou at No. 1 singles. Bou faced—and defeated—Broward College's Konomi Shida in the opening round, 6-4, 6-3. Bou then met and knocked out the No. 6-seeded player, Mesa Community College's Khanh Huynh, in the round of 16, 6-2, 6-0.
In the quarterfinals, Bou had the No. 2-seeded player, Hillsborough Community College's Ceire Mullins, on the ropes before rain interrupted play. Bou broke the hard-serving Mullins to take a 4-3 lead in the third set. Winded and flustered by Bou's break of serve, Mullins was on the verge of collapsing. The untimely rain stoppage gave Mullins time to regroup and regain her composure. When play resumed over half an hour later, Mullins was able to fight back and salvage the match, 6-4, 3-6, 6-4.
"The rain couldn't have come at a more inopportune time for Paola," said Wright. "Paola had the match all but won. Mullins was out of gas and out of time. Paola had just broken serve. Mullins was demoralized and dejected after that turn of events. What a game changer and momentum killer that bit of rain turned out to be!"
The rain, however, didn't put a damper on the Lady Tigers' tremendous season. The Lady Tigers finished with an Alabama Community College Conference (ACCC) record of 8-0 and an overall record of 16-1 on the year, with wins over Christian Brothers University (DII), Shorter University (DII), Huntingdon College (DIII), and Martin Methodist University (NAIA). The Lady Tigers then went on to win the ACCC title by sweeping all nine flights of play (six singles and three doubles). To cap things off, the Lady Tigers ended up ninth in the nation.