Greenwood, S.C. -- The NGU Women’s Tennis Team’s sister combination of Nikita and Larissa Berger had a great weekend reaching the Finals of the Lander Bearcat Invitational tournament. The tournament featured four South Carolina schools with the host Lander, NGU, Converse, and Erskine. The format consisted of four 2-player teams from each school, in a 16-team point of compass draw.
In the first round, the Berger’s started with an impressive 6-0 doubles victory over the team of Grace Coleman and Eileen Rickert of Erskine. Larissa then disposed of Coleman 6-3, 6-2 and Nikita took care of Rickert 6-4, 6-3, giving NGU a 3-0 victory. The quarterfinal round saw the Crusader duo defeat Taylor Parrot and Tonya Giogowski of Converse College 6-3 in doubles. Nikita then bested Giogowski in singles 6-2, 6-4. Larissa was pushed to a third set tie-break by Parrot but was able to finish her off 10-4 in the breaker, giving the Crusaders another 3-0 victory and advancing them to the Saturday, semi-final round. The other victory for NGU came in the quarterfinal round doubles match when the team of Bethany Tankersley and Jhovana Brena defeated the Converse duo of Brathcher and Aparicio 6-2.
The semifinal round was a thriller with the Berger sisters pulling off a stunning 2-1 victory over an exceptional Lander team! The pair had to post a come from behind win in the doubles match over Nelli Luis and Kayleigh Hahn 7-6 (7-5 in the tiebreak). The singles action saw Hahn beating Nikita 6-0, 6-2 to even the match score at 1-1. The deciding match would come down to younger sister and freshman, Larissa to decide if the Crusader pair would move on to the final round. Lander’s Luis won the first set 6-4. Larissa came right back to win the second set 7-5. This would set up an epic deciding tiebreak that saw both girls fight off two match points before Berger was able to triumph 13-11.
The final round paired the Crusader sisters against another team from Lander. Fatigue from the weekend started to take over as the women were now facing their seventh and eight matches of the two-day tournament. The Berger’s faced deficits of 0-3 and 1-4 down before storming back to knot the doubles matchup at 5. The Lander team of Eduarda Ferriera and Raquel Acco were able to take the next two games to take the doubles point 7-5. Older sister Nikita wasted no time in the evening up the finals at one apiece when she downed Acco 6-1, 6-1. However, Ferriera proved to be too much for Larissa as she defeated her 6-1, 6-2, giving the host Lady Bearcats the championship.
It was a great weekend of tennis for the Crusaders, facing some very formidable opponents. Eduarda Ferriera, who led the Lander team to the Title, will most certainly be ranked in the top 50 of the NCAA D2 polls when they are released on November 21. Eduarda was a quarterfinalist at the recent ITA regional tournament. For the Crusaders, they will have their final test of the short, fall season when they face Newbery and Spartanburg Methodist in a double-header this upcoming Saturday at the Vance Tennis Complex in Tigerville. The match begins at 10 am.