Boiling Springs, N.C. - Gardner-Webb continued its recent dominance in singles play by winning No.'s 1-5 singles, and the Runnin' Bulldogs defeated a scrappy Longwood team to win its Big South regular season finale, 5-2, on Sunday at the Webb Tennis Complex.
GWU (8-11, 3-6 Big South) won all the singles matches in which it participated during Sunday's match, only dropping No. 6 singles by default. The squad has won at least three singles matches seven of its past eight outings.
Against the Lancers (5-13, 0-8 Big South), the Runnin' Bulldogs found themselves in a 1-0 hole after dropping No.'s 1 and 2 doubles. Longwood, which also won No. 3 doubles by default, ended Jenny Lunde/Erica White's eight match win streak at the No. 1 slot with a 9-7 win from Marta Pinyol/Malin Algurin. The No. 2 doubles tandem of Malin Allgurin/Allison Shulman gave Longwood an 8-5 win during their sweep of doubles play.
The tide turned in the Runnin' Bulldogs' favor in singles. Without a No. 6 player, GWU essentially entered singles play down 2-0 needing wins from four of its five singles players.
A win by retirement at No. 2 singles from sophomore Yasmin Doost (Bray, Maidenhead, England) got the rally started. Doost, who was up 4-1 in the first set when the Lancers' No. 2 player was forced to retire due to injury, won her tenth match of the year to pull the Runnin' Bulldogs within one point of tying the scoring.
Rokia Sacko continued her recent hot streak to keep the rally going. The freshman from Montreal, Canada won her fifth consecutive singles match on Sunday, defeating the Lancers' Hannah Hill 6-2, 6-2 to even the match at 2-2.
At No. 1, senior Erica White (Charleston, W.Va.) endured a tight second set, then rallied to finish off a 6-1, 6-4 triumph against Marta Pinyol. White's singles record jumped to 16-3 on the season with the win.
With Lunde serving for the match at No. 3 singles, Longwood's Shulman denied her winning bid by breaking serve to stay alive. Lunde, after being down 40-0 in the next game, clawed her way back to break Shulman's serve and secure a 7-5, 6-4 win at the No. 3 spot, her ninth singles win on the year.
Freshman Valeriia Popko (St. Petersburg, Russia) rounded out the match's scoring with a tough win at No. 4 singles. Popko outlasted Longwood's Sarah Moomau 6-1, 4-6, 6-4.
Stellar singles play has been GWU's primary asset during Big South play this season, as the squad has forged a combined singles record of 27-18 during its 3-6 League mark. White, 16-3 overall, is 8-1 in Big South play and has won 8 consecutive matches at No. 1 singles. Doost, 10-8 overall, ranks second on the team with a 6-3 Big South mark with regular season Conference play in the books for 2013.
Gardner-Webb closes out the 2013 regular season on Saturday, April 13 with Senior Day against North Carolina Central. Saturday's match is slated for a 1:00 p.m. start time.