The Wildcats buried St. Edward's, 5-0, as they steamrolled their way past the Hilltoppers in the NCAA Division II South Central Region Tournament championship match. The win gives ACU its 25th regional title in women's tennis and sends the Wildcats to the NCAA Division II national tournament for the 17th straight year.
ACU - ranked No. 6 in the country and sporting a 24-3 record - will open play in the national tournament on May 16 when they take on Indiana (Pa.) at 8 ap.m. (Eastern time) in the Round 16. A win there would send ACU into the quarterfinals against an opponent to be determined.
If the Wildcats can win those two matches, they would likely face top-ranked and unbeaten BYU-Hawaii in the semifinals on May 18 with a berth in the national championship match on the line.
Head coach Hutton Jones might just have the type of players to get into that match this year. Tuesday's win was ACU's 14th shutout of the season and 22nd win while allowing one or fewer points.
He also has two of the top singles players in the nation in No. 2 Julia Mongin and No. 37 Micah Hermsdorf playing Nos. 1 and 2 singles, respectively, for his 2012 team. Hermsdorf clinched Tuesday's regional championship with her 6-0, 6-0 win over Paige Rachel to run her season record to 21-4 in singles play, including 15-2 at the No. 2 spot.
Mongin didn't finish her match at No. 1 singles against Alexandra Khadzyan, but she was up one set and leading 2-1 in the second when the match ended. Laura Mongin captured the other singles victory for the Wildcats, knocking off Rafaela Haegele, 6-0, 6-0, at No. 4 singles.
Hermsdorf and Hannah Kelley also form the nation's No. 11 doubles team, and they won their match Tuesday, but not before being pushed to the brink by the St. Edward's tandem of Alexandra Khadzhyan and Audrey Tompkins. Kelley and Hermsdorf were sent to a tie-breaker, but won it 7-3 to win the match, 9-8.
That gave ACU a 3-0 lead going into singles play after the Mongin sisters won at No. 2 doubles, 8-2 over Rachel and Rafaela Haegele, and Brittney Reed and Madelyn Walker blanked Mary Bain and Francesca Chahor, 8-0, at No. 3 doubles.
Abilene Christian University Tennis
St. Edward's vs Abilene Christian (May 01, 2012)
#6 Abilene Christian 5, #36 St. Edward's 0
May 01, 2012 at Abilene, TX (Eager Tennis Pavilion)
1. #2 Julia Mongin (ACUW) vs. Alexandra Khadzhyan (SEUWT) 6-2, 2-1, unfinished
2. #4 Micah Hermsdorf (ACUW) def. Paige Rachel (SEUWT) 6-0, 6-0
3. Brittney Reed (ACUW) vs. Audrey Tompkins (SEUWT) 6-0, 3-0, unfinished
4. Laura Mongin (ACUW) def. Rafaela Haegele (SEUWT) 6-0, 6-0
5. Hannah Kelley (ACUW) vs. Mary Bain (SEUWT) 5-3, unfinished
6. Emily Conrad (ACUW) vs. Heather Brien (SEUWT) 1-6, 3-0, unfinished
1. #11 Hannah Kelley/Micah Hermsdorf (ACUW) def. Alexandra Khadzhyan/Audrey Tompkins (SEUWT) 9-8 (7-3)
2. Julia Mongin/Laura Mongin (ACUW) def. Paige Rachel/Rafaela Haegele (SEUWT) 8-2
3. Brittney Reed/Madelyn Walker (ACUW) def. Mary Bain/Francesca Chahor (SEUWT) 8-0
St. Edward's 15-10; National ranking #36; Regional ranking #3
Abilene Christian 24-3; National ranking #6; Regional ranking #1
Order of finish: Doubles (3,2,1); Singles (4,2)
NCAA DII South Central Region Championships