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Taya Powell
Taya Powell won in dramatic fashion at number two singles play to clinch the Mountaineers win.
photo courtesy of Appalachian State Athletics

App State Women’s Tennis Advances in Sun Belt Tournament

App State Tennis advanced to Friday’s quarterfinals of the Sun Belt Tournament with a 4-3 victory Thursday against 10th-seeded James Madison, which had defeated the seventh-seeded Mountaineers during the regular season. Taya Powell clinched the victory in dramatic fashion, breaking a 3-all tie in the team score with a three-set victory on Court 2.

Powell defeated Ines Oliveira 6-0, 4-6, 6-3, dropping to her knees in excitement after ending the match with a forehand winner down the line on the 17th stroke of the deuce point. If Oliveira had won the point, she would have been within 5-4 in the final set, but the left-handed Powell’s clean winner on her sixth match point prompted her teammates to rush the court and mob her in celebration.

After cruising in the first set and dropping the second set, Powell jumped out to leads of 4-0 and 5-1 in the third set. In each of the next two games, she held a 40-30 lead, only to see Oliveira win back-to-back points (with non-ad scoring) and cut the deficit to 5-3. In the next game, Oliveira again forced deuce after trailing 40-30, but Powell capped her second clutch win of the day in style.

A hard-fought 7-6 {7-1} win from Powell and Olwyn Ryan-Bovey in a tiebreaker that decided the final doubles match gave App State the critical doubles point, meaning the Mountaineers (13-9) needed to split the six singles matches to advance.

Savannah Dada-Mascoll and Naledi Manyube provided the first two singles wins, as Dada-Mascoll defeated Daria Munteanu 6-3, 6-3 on Court 1 and Manyube rallied to defeat Reka Moulin 3-6, 6-3, 6-1 on Court 5. JMU had won the first two completed singles matches before Dada-Mascoll closed out her straight-set win, and the Dukes were briefly ahead 3-2 before the match on Court 5 ended with the victory from Manyube, who won 10 of the final 12 games against Moulin to move the Mountaineers within one victory of advancing.

JMU (8-13) won the first completed doubles match, but Manyube and Maggie Pate cruised to a 6-3 win at the No. 3 spot to set up more drama. Powell and Ryan-Bovey fell behind 5-3 and faced a match point at deuce in the next game before holding serve to make it 5-4. A break of serve from App State tied the match, and the teams traded breaks to force a tiebreaker that ended with Powell and Ryan-Bovey claiming the final five points.

App State will face second-seeded Marshall (18-7) on Friday. Two weeks ago in Huntington, W. Va., the Thundering Herd defeated the Mountaineers 4-3 in App State’s last road match of the regular season.

The quarterfinal match is slated for a 2 p.m. start time. It will be streamed on ESPN+, and live stats will be provided via appstatesports.com

(7) App State 4, (10) James Madison 3
Doubles
Daria Munteanu/Ines Oliveira (JMU) def. Savannah Dada-Mascoll/Ellie Murphy (App) 6-3
Taya Powell/Olwyn Ryan-Bovey (App) def. Cate Broerman/Alexandera Prudente (JMU) 7-6 [7-1] Naledi Manyube/Maggie Pate (App) def. Hope Moulin/Reka Matko (JMU) 6-3

Singles
Savannah Dada-Mascoll (App) def. Daria Munteanu (JMU) 6-3, 6-3
Taya Powell (App) def. Ines Oliveira (JMU) 6-0, 4-6, 6-3
Cate Broerman (JMU) def. Olwyn Ryan-Bovey (App) 6-1, 6-3
Hope Moulin (JMU) def. Maggie Pate (App) 6-2, 6-1
Naledi Manyube (App) def. Reka Matko (JMU) 3-6, 6-3, 6-1
Alexandra Prudente (JMU) def. Ellie Murphy (App) 6-3, 6-4

{Information provided by Appalachian State Athletics}