Lady Jags finish #3 at NJCAA championship

Lady Jags finish #3 at NJCAA championship

May 9, 2014

Lady Jaguars finish in 3rd place in NJCAA women’s tennis

Sophomore Fatyha Berjane came oh-so-close to repeating as national champion and All-American.

But the Georgia Perimeter College women’s tennis ace lost a classic three-set battle in No. 2 singles competition at the National Junior College Athletic Association tournament in Tyler, Texas.

The No. 1 seed in the flight, Berjane won the first set, but after an arduous struggle eventually succumbed to the No. 2 seed, Joanna-Nena Savva, a freshman from Tyler Junior College, 5-7, 6-3, 6-4.

Freshman D’Asha Davis put up a good fight but fell in her No. 6 singles national championship match 6-1, 6-4 to another freshman, third-seeded Thais Castiglioni from Florida State College-Jacksonville.

The Jaguars finished third in the tournament, the highest national ranking for the women’s program since the 2000 Jaguars won the Division 2 national championship.

ASA College (N.Y.) won the team championship, edging Tyler by one point 47-46. Georgia Perimeter compiled 32 points for third place, followed by Cowley County (Kansas) and Florida State College-Jacksonville with 25.5 points each. It was ASA’s first national championship in any sport and it broke Tyler’s string of four consecutive titles.

The Lady Jaguars entered nationals ranked No. 2 in the NJCAA after sweeping every match in the Georgia Collegiate Athletic Association tournament in April.

In her freshman year, Berjane won the 2013 No. 2 singles national championship and thus earned a spot on the NJCAA Division 1 All-America team. With her win in the first set of this year’s championship match, it seemed the defending champ was on the path to a repeat. But she couldn’t overcome Savva’s rally in the second and third sets.

“Fatyha competed very well and we are proud of her,” said GPC head coach Mohamed “Reda” Nait Omar. “It was tough with rain and some tough calls.”

Berjane finishes the 2014 season with that lone defeat in singles action.

Davis came into the tournament unseeded in No. 6 singles and possibly, to some, a surprise to advance Cinderella-like to the championship match. She upset the sixth flight’s No. 4 seed on Day 2 and the top seed—last year’s runner-up—in the semifinals, but her luck ran out in the championship match.

 “D'Asha was unseeded and made it to the final. She really came through for the team,” Nait Omar said.

Indeed, a team effort earned GPC the third-place finish. Four Jaguars—Berjane, Davis, Niriantsi Rasolomalala and Corina Anghelescu—made the tournament semifinals, as did the No. 2 doubles team, Berjane and Drew Anderson.

Berjane and Anderson were eliminated in the semifinals by the eventual No. 2 doubles champions, Dayana Agasieva and Diana Perez of ASA.

Piling up more points for GPC, Anderson reached the quarterfinals in No. 3 singles, as did the No. 1 doubles team with Rasolomalala and Anghelescu. In No. 5 singles, Eduarda Marins won a match to advance to The Round of 16, as did the No. 3 duo of Marins and Davis.

“Overall, I am very happy with results and the team’s effort out there,” Nait Omar said. “They competed very well as a team. I am very proud of all the girls.”

Photo by Leita Cowart.