By Tim Glon
GREENCASTLE, Ind. — Ohio Northern rallied from deficits in both singles and doubles play and battled to a 5-3 victory over Coe (Iowa) in the First Round of the NCAA III Women's Tennis Tournament Thursday afternoon at DePauw University's Blackstock Courts.
The Polar Bears (21-3 overall) advance to the Second Round and will face tournament host and No. 14-ranked DePauw (Ind.) on Friday at Noon.
The Cohawks end their season with a 21-7 record.
"This was a gritty performance by our ladies today," ONU head coach Scott Wills said. "We battled all day and got a tough victory over a very talented team. I think the heat took its toll on both teams as the match wore on and we gutted through it."
Things looked bleak for ONU in doubles play under the hot Indiana sun as temperatures inched near 90 degrees, after Coe won at No. 1 and held late leads of 8-7 and 7-6 in the other two doubles matches.
Coe started singles play strong, winning on courts 1 and 6 to go up 3-2.
But Letizia won 7-5, 6-2 at No. 4 singles to even the match at 3-all.
Kelly then put the Polar Bears ahead 4-3 with a 6-4, 6-2 victory at No. 2 singles.
Junior Christina Corbean then finished the match with a 5-7, 6-2, 6-1 win at No. 3 singles.
Stromback was also battling back after dropping the first set 6-4 at No. 5 singles, as the match was called at 6-6 in the second set.
ONU is now 3-3 all-time in the NCAA Tournament and has now won three consecutive First Round matches.