Airapetian comes through in clutch Lady'Backs upset #29 LSU to close season

FAYETTEVILLE — Nanar Airapetian came through for the Arkansas women’s tennis team as the Lady Razorbacks scored a 4-3 upset of 29th-ranked LSU to close out the 2007 regular season at the Dills Indoor Tennis Complex on Saturday afternoon.

Forced indoors by the harsh winds and cold temperatures, Arkansas (11-10) made the most of the situation by sweeping the doubles and splitting the singles to set the stage for Airapetian. LSU drops to 15-8 and 5-6 in league play.

"The whole team earned the victory, but Nanar won the day," UA women’s tennis coach Michael Hegarty said.

The sophomore took the first set over Hannah Robinson of LSU, 6-3, but Robinson got on a huge roll in the second set with a 6-1 win. Robinson carried her momentum into the third, taking a quick 3-1 lead and seeming to have the win wrapped up for the Lady Tigers.

Unfortunately for LSU, Airapetian had different plans. Starting with the fifth game of the set, Airapetian reeled off five straight games to clinch the victory on the fourth court and send Arkansas into the SEC Tournament next week as the ninth seed.

"It was an important win for our team, and it gets us close to the NCAA tournament for a second year in a row," Hegarty said.

From the moment the teams walked into the Dills Center, it looked like it would be Arkansas’ day. Rachel Wilhelm and Audrey Bordeleau took care of Nicole Kantor and Staten Spencer, 8-5, on court three then Ela Kaluder and Aurelija Miseviciute defated Anastasiay Dubova and Robinson on the second doubles court, 8-6.

With thedoubles point already in hand, Airapetianand Maryori Franco closed out the sweep with a win on the first court over Megan Falcon and Mykala Hedberg. The result was a harbinger of singles to come as Airapetian and Franco won the 9-8 (5) tiebreaker proset.

Miseviciute made quick work of Hedberg, 6-3, 6-0, on court two. Falcon countered on court one with a 7-5, 6-2, win over Kaluder and LSU evened the match at 2-2 with Spencer’s win over Bordeleau on fourt five, 6-4, 6-4.

Arkansas regained the advantage when Franco downed Kantor, 7-6, 6-2, at No. 3, but the Lady Tigers got a tying effort from Dubova on court six as she beat Wilhelm, 6-3, 6-3.

"The first five went in straight sets, and they went by fast," Hegarty said. "It set the stage for Nanar."

For Airapetian, it was only her second win of the year at No. 4, as she moves to 9-10 overall for the spring.

Arkansas closes the regular season at 11-10, and 4-7 against SEC opponents. The win avenges a disappointing season-ending loss to the Lady Tigers last year without the services of Miseviciute. The Lady’Backs now head into the SEC tournament next week Lexington, Ky., as the ninth-seed facing Auburn in the opening round.

Match Results

No. 59 Arkansas 4, No. 29 LSU 3

Singles Competition

1. Megan Falcon (LSU) def. No. 25 Ela Kaluder (ARK) 7-5, 6-2

2. Aurelija Miseviciute (ARK) def. Mykala Hedberg (LSU) 6-3, 6-0

3. Maryori Franco (ARK) def. Nicole Kantor (LSU) 7-6, 6-2

4. Nanar Airapetian (ARK) def. Hannah Robinson (LSU) 6-3, 1-6, 6-3

5. Staten Spencer (LSU) def. Audrey Bordeleau (ARK) 6-4, 6-4

6. Anastasiya Dubova (LSU) def. Rachel Wilhelm (ARK) 6-3, 6-3

Doubles Competition

1. Maryori Franco/Nanar Airapetian (ARK) def. Megan Falcon/Mykala Hedberg (LSU) 9-8 (5)

2. Ela Kaluder/Aurelija Miseviciute (ARK) def. Anastasiya Dubova/Hannah Robinson (LSU) 8-6

3. Rachel Wilhelm/Audrey Bordeleau (ARK) def. Nicole Kantor/Staten Spencer (LSU) 8-5

Order of finish: Doubles (3,2,1*) ; Singles (2, 1*, 5, 3, 6, 4)