GREENSBORO - Emotions were high as the North Carolina A&T women's tennis team stepped on to the court for its last match of the 2011-2012 season on Monday.
This match was especially emotional for senior Azeib Nigatu. It was going to mark the last time she played tennis as a member of the Aggies tennis team.
Before the Aggies faced conference rival N.C. Central at the Piedmont Indoor Tennis Center, Nigatu was honored by her Aggie family.
" [Azeib] turned the corner spring of last year when I called her in my office because it appeared to me that she was happy with being average in the classroom, explained head coach James Dunwoody. "I impressed upon her that she needed to perform on a higher level academically.
"This past year, she has been an honor student," he added. "I wanted her to understand that exceeding exception is what Aggie Pride is all about. Z is going to be a good leader out there in the community."
Eagles took a 5-2 win over the Aggies. The Eagles took the doubles point early by winning two out of three contests. The Aggies lone win in doubles came from April Burrage and Kenya Colbert at No. 3.
During singles competition, the Eagles had stellar success against the Aggies 1-3 players to secure the win. Kim Stalling gave NCCU's Rebecca Wood a challenge before falling 6-4, 6-1.
The Aggie wins came from Kenya Colbert at No. 5 singles. She defeated Julia Aguilar 6-0, 6-0. Burrage beat Lakisha McDougald 6-1, 6-0.
"The number three doubles did their usual winning," said Dunwoody. "Specifically in the conference matches, I have been able to count on April Burrage and Kenya Colbert to get me a doubles win, and they did it again today."
Another impressive performance came from Nianna Henry, who competed in her first singles match of the season and was put in the number one spot.
"The surprise for today's match was Nianna Henry," said Dunwoody. "This was her first singles match this season and what was most impressive about her was that she played in the number 1 spot today. Although she didn't win the match, she looked like a number one tennis player. Over the summer I will be making sure she is doing the things she needs to do to take her to the next level. We lost today, but we didn't get beat," Dunwoody added.
As the season comes to an end for the Aggies, Dunwoody is already looking ahead to next season and the steps he is going to take to make the team better.
"We are happy that the girls improved match to match and how they represented North Carolina A&T. That portion of the season was successful," said Dunwoody. "However, in terms of our wins and losses, we have tremendous amount of work to do. We have to get busy recruiting and getting a much higher level of tennis players in here. Once I get those athletes to mesh with my current athletes, we will have the potential to be really tough. My primary objectives are to get tennis back on campus, get the facilities at a high standard and get the students behind the team. With those improvements you will see the athletes perform better knowing that the Aggie community is behind them."
Tennis Match Results
North Carolina Central Univ. vs North Carolina A&T
Apr 09, 2012 at Greensboro, N.C.
Central Univ. 5, North Carolina A&T 2
1. PALKO, Oleysa (NCCUW) def. HENRY,Nianna (NCATW) 6-1, 6-1
2. CHATMAN, Cameron (NCCUW) def. CROSS,Cayla (NCATW) 6-1, 6-2
3. NEKRASOVA, Ekaterina (NCCUW) def. NIGATU,Azeib (NCATW) 6-0, 6-1
4. WOOD, Rebecca (NCCUW) def. STALLING,Kimberly (NCATW) 6-4, 6-1
5. COLBERT,Kenya (NCATW) def. AGUILAR, Julia (NCCUW) 6-0, 6-0
6. BURRAGE,April (NCATW) def. MCDOUGALD, Lakisha (NCCUW) 6-1, 6-0
1. PALKO, Oleysa/CHATMAN, Cameron (NCCUW) def. NIGATU,Azeib/CROSS,Cayla (NCATW) 8-1
2. NEKRASOVA, Ekaterina/WOOD, Rebecca (NCCUW) def. HENRY,Nianna/STALLING,Kimberly (NCATW) 8-1
3. BURRAGE,April/COLBERT,Kenya (NCATW) def. AGUILAR, Julia/MCDOUGALD, Lakisha (NCCUW) 8-0