DENTON, Texas (ODUSports.com) – In the title match of the 2021 Conference USA Championships, the No. 37 nationally ranked Old Dominion women's tennis team overcame a 2-0 deficit to defeat No. 45 Florida International by a 4-2 score on Sunday afternoon at the Waranch Tennis Complex. With the win, the Monarchs earn the league's automatic bid to the NCAA tournament on May 16-28, at the USTA National Campus (Collegiate Center) in Orlando, Florida.
Sunday marked Old Dominion's second ever conference championship and first ever in Conference USA, as the Monarchs won the CAA crown in 2001. The upcoming NCAA tournament appearance will be the third in program history, as ODU earned an at large bid in 2019.
"I am so pleased to be part of this match today and a part of this team," said ODU head coach Dominic Manilla. "Hats off to FIU, they came out and really fought hard. The whole day was impressive from our student-athletes. The way that we took the loss in doubles and then came back was special. To go home with the trophy is amazing. There is no team more deserving. I am at a little bit of a loss of words right now."
No. 76 Holly Hutchinson and Tatsiana Sasnouskaya won their doubles match 6-1; however, FIU claimed the doubles point with wins on courts one and three to take an early 1-0 lead.
No. 123 Hutchinson cut ODU's deficit to 2-1 after downing Kamila Umarova 6-1, 6-4. Brooke Pilkington tied the match at 2-2 with a 6-1, 6-2 victory over Andreea Velcea. No. 64 Sasnouskaya gave the Monarchs their first lead of the match with a 6-4, 6-1 win against Basak Akbas. It was Alexandra Viktorovich who clinched the title for Old Dominion after defeating Kristina Miletic (6-2, 6-7, 6-1).
No. 1 seed ODU (12-4) has now won 10 straight matches, while outscoring its opponents 51-11 during the win streak. No. 3 seed Florida International entered Sunday's match with a perfect 12-0 record. Old Dominion has appeared in the last two Conference USA title matches.
The NCAA division I women's tennis selection show will take place on Monday, May 3 at 6 p.m. EST and will stream on NCAA.com.