GREENSBORO - In a day where the North Carolina A&T women's tennis team started competing at 1 p.m., and didn't stop until after midnight, the Aggies lost a heartbreaking 4-3 match to Norfolk State. The North Carolina A&T opened the afternoon with a shutout win over Fayetteville State, but lightening did not strike twice for the Aggies fell short to the Spartans 4-3.
Even with a two-point advantage at the start of singles play, the Aggies could not pull out the win. Due to cramps and lack of stamina from the long day, the Aggies could not keep up with the Spartans after over four hours of play.
"We were supposed to win the match," said Aggies coach James Dunwoody. "The only thing about it is when you play this sport and you've got a workout program and trainers, why are they cramping? I had two girls cramping (Cayla and Victorea). Conditioning is an issue. We're too far in the season to be cramping, so I have to roll back and fix the conditioning because that can't happen again."
Despite the outcome of the evening's match-up, several Aggies did well against the Spartans. The No. 2 doubles team of Cayla Cross and Azeib Nigatu, pulled out a victory over Norfolk State's Laura Gutierrez and Maryna Kariuk 8-5. The other win in doubles came from April Burrage and Victorea Austin at No. 3). They won by default.
A&T's No. 1 doubles team of Nianna Henry and Kenya Colbert fell short to Rebecca Graff and Naeemah Brooks 3-8.
The singles matches did not go as well for the Aggies. Other than a default victory for April Burrage at No. 6, the only singles win came from Kimberly Stalling at No. 4. She who defeated Kariuk 6-0, 6-0.
Gutierrez defeated No. 1 Cross in three tough-fought sets (2-6, 7-6, 4-6). The Spartans' No. 2 Brooks defeated Nigatu 6-3, 6-3. Colbert at No. 3 and Austin at No. 5, also loss in three tough sets to Graff (1-6, 6-7, 5-7) and Kia Batiste (6-4, 3-6, 1-6), respectively.
With this loss to Norfolk State, N.C. A&T is 2-7 overall and 1-1 in conference play.
"Our chances are getting slim for opportunities to get into the [MEAC] tournament," said Dunwoody. "It doesn't look good right now. I thought this would be our best chance. Everybody else we will face will be tougher than them."
The Lady Aggies will travel to Clinton, S.C. Sunday, Feb. 19 to battle Presbyterian College.