Georgia State’s women’s tennis team won its second Sun Belt Conference Tournament in three seasons since joining the Sun Belt Conference. The Panthers beat South Alabama once again to clinch the title, as they previously did in the 2014 season.
The Panthers, ranked the No. 1 seed, beat the Jaguars, No. 2 seed, 4-2 thanks to Daniela Ramirez stepping up to win the match point at the No. 4 spot. The Panthers won all the doubles matches, and won four of the single matches.
Winning the Sun Belt Conference earned the Panthers an automatic bid into the NCAA Women’s Tennis Tournament. Ranked No. 46 nationally, the Panthers would end up facing No. 25 Syracuse. The Panthers fought in a hard lengthy match that lasted 3 hours, 45 minutes but Syracuse came out on top 4-3. The Panthers had the lead 3-2, but Syracuse would come storming back to win the last two matches.
Syracuse’s No. 64-ranked Anna Shkudun would defeat the Panthers No. 114-ranked Linn Timmermann in three sets to clinch the victory. Timmerman fought hard even with an injured ankle, but it just wasn’t enough. Still head coach Jason Marshall knows she gave it her all.
“Timmerman had rolled her ankle during the week and hurt it again the second set, but she gave it everything she had,” Coach Marshall said. “The team toughed it out because at this point of a season everyone has nagging injuries. They blocked out the pain and kept fighting.”
The Panthers finished their successful season with a 15-6 record, a Sun Belt Conference Championship Trophy, and an NCAA Bid. Coach Marshall in just his second year, was named the Sun Belt Conference Coach of the Year. Timmerman was named to the First Team All-Conference in both singles and doubles. Niri Rasolomalala was named to the Second Team Singles All-Conference team. Tarani Kamoe was named to the First Team All-Conference Doubles team.
Next season, the Panthers will be without two of their top players Timmerman and Rasolomalala. Timmerman finished last season with a 13-6 record and Rasolomalala finished with a 15-3 record. However the team is still young and has a great future ahead of them.
At just 17 years old, Daniela Ramirez will be coming off one of the best seasons in school history as a freshmen. She finished the season with the most wins on the team with a 16-3 record and finished the season on a 10 game winning streak. Look for her to bring that momentum into the next season.
In addition, the team is not only young, but also experienced. Look for junior Kristin Rehse and senior Kamoe to be the leaders on this team next year. Rehse finished last year with a 12-6 record and Kamoe finished with a 3-2 record.
With Sun Belt Head Coach of the Year Marshall leading the team, look for the Panthers to be right back in the NCAAs.