CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. - Senior Jenny Nalepa concluded her Saint Louis career with a pair of victories, but No. 2-seed Charlotte defeated the 10th-seeded Billikens 4-2 Friday afternoon in the quarterfinals of the Atlantic 10 Conference Championship at Boar's Head Sports Club.
Saint Louis, which toppled No. 7 Fordham 4-2 in first-round action Thursday, finished the season with a 12-10 record. Charlotte (16-5) will face No. 3 Richmond, the three-time defending champion, in Saturday's semifinals.
Nalepa and Mia Elmore squeaked past Alexandra Zinn and Andrea Rivera 9-7 at No. 1 doubles, but Charlotte won at Nos. 2 and 3 to capture the point. Lisa Grosselius and Anna Ekelund beat Brooke Urzendowski and Kasia Tomalak 8-3 at No. 2, while Natsuko Takayanagi and Dominica Nemec were 9-7 winners over Stephanie Hollis and Maria Toro Moreno at No. 3.
Ekelund gave the 49ers a 2-0 lead with a 6-1, 6-1 victory over Moreno at No. 5 singles. The Billikens cut the margin in half with Urzendowski's 6-3, 6-4 triumph over Grosselius at No. 4, then tied the match when Nalepa posted a 6-2, 6-3 win over Zinn at No. 1.
But Takayanagi fought off Elmore 6-1, 7-5 at No. 3 to put Charlotte back in front, and the 49ers clinched the match when Rivera outlasted Hollis 6-2, 2-6, 6-4 at No. 2.
The No. 6 contest between Madeline Jolly and Iveta Guneva was halted with Guneva leading 5-7, 6-3, 3-1.
"I'm very proud of our team," head coach Jon Zych said. "It was a great match. Every player on the team fought hard in every set, and they really enjoyed the battle."Looking back, it was a heck of a season," Zych said. "We played some tough teams this year and had our fifth straight winning record. It was a great group to coach, and I'm looking forward to next season."