Courtesy Tarleton Sports Information

TAHLEQUAH, Okla. - The Tarleton State TexAnn tennis team dropped a close match to East Central in the opening round of the NCAA Division II Central Regional Thursday, 5-4.

The TexAnns started off the match in a hole, losing two of three doubles matches. However, solid singles play almost put the TexAnns on top of the Lady Tigers.

The match came down to the fourth flight of singles, where Tarleton’s Stacen Benavides was facing Ana Fernandez. Fernandez won the first set 6-3, but Benavides fought back in the second set to tie the score at five apiece. However, she lost the next two points and the set, 7-5.

The TexAnns’ doubles victory came thanks to Benavides and Diane Hawkins in the third flight. The duo defeated Alyssa O’Neal and Erin Miller, 8-0. In the first flight of doubles, Shannon Wallis and Melanie Zilles lost to Dasha Segenchuk and Fernandez, 8-6. Jade Charlot and Chrissie Cooper fell in the second flight of doubles to Karlien Lotter and Julia Arguello, 8-3.

Cooper won the second flight of singles over Lotter (6-1, 6-4) while Charlot ran away with the fifth flight of singles, pounding O’Neal (6-0, 6-0). In the sixth flight, Evgeniya Prokofeva crushed Miller (6-1, 6-0) to take the match.

Tarleton also fell in the first and third singles flights. Wallis came up short on court one versus Segenchuk (6-1, 6-2), while Arguello hung on to beat Zilles in the third flight (7-5, 6-1).

The TexAnns end their season after making their fifth straight trip to the NCAA regional tournament. Tarleton finished the season with an 11-8 record and were ranked No. 5 in the final regional poll.