May 12, 2021
The St. Mary’s Women’s Tennis team punched their ticket to the 2021 NCAA Division II National Championship on Tuesday as the No. 30 Rattlers knocked off the top-seed and No. 9 Angelo State Rambelles to capture the NCAA South Central Regional crown.
This will be the Rattlers’ first trip to the National Championship since the 2018 season.
Before the match, Abigail Csengery mentioned to all the girls, “We’ve come this far so just enjoy the day. We went with a totally different doubles strategy and it worked to clinch the point,” said Director of Tennis Bill Macom.
A team captain, Csengery came through for her team when they needed her most as the senior captured a 6-1, 6-4 victory at No. 5 singles to clinch the match to guide St. Mary’s to their seventh National Championship appearance in program history.
The day started with weather delays and eventually moved the match indoors. Unphased by the events, the Rattlers came out and picked up a win at No. 1 doubles as Ashley Penshorn and Maria Garcia knocked off the 14th-ranked duo in the country, 6-3. Gabi Ioannou and Csengery clinched the doubles point with a 6-1 win at three’s to give St. Mary’s a 1-0 advantage.
Angelo State evened the match at one with a win at the No. 4 singles line.
Garcia, ranked No. 32 in singles put the Rattlers back in front with a 6-4, 6-3 win at the No. 2 line but a win at the No. 3 line evened the match at two.
No. 24 Penshorn earned her 20th singles win of the season, picking up a hard-fought victory. The junior dropped the first set but bounced back to win 6-2, 7-5 to get the Rattlers one step closer to a National Championship berth.
Csengery’s 13th win of the season was the biggest win of the year, sending the Rattlers to Surprise, Arizona for a shot at the National Championship.
“Before singles, I told the team this was probably the most bizarre journey so let’s have it continue,” continued Macom. “I couldn’t be more proud as everyone showed great leadership today, even the ones who didn’t play.”
Alice Thane picked up a 6-2 victory in her opening set and was down 1-0 in the second before the match was clinched.
The NCAA finals will be May 19-21, in Surprise, Arizona. The Pacific West Conference and the City of Surprise will serve as hosts.