PERKINSTON — The Mississippi Gulf Coast women's tennis team has been deceptively competitive this season. The Lady Bulldogs has only one win and one tie to their credit, but they have a shot at hardware at the MACJC/Region 23 Tennis Tournament.
The event, hosted by Itawamba, starts Wednesday afternoon in Tupelo and concludes Saturday.
"With the adversity they went through, especially early in the season, they really stepped up," Gulf Coast coach Gary Bourgeois said. "Megan played through an injury the whole season and really demonstrated a lot of tenacity trying to right the ship. Margo fed off her knowledge and experience. They became a good team."
Lopareva is 12-2 at No. 1 singles, and they've teamed up to win eight of their 14 doubles matches.
Lopareva moved up from No. 2 singles last year, where she won the MACJC/Region 23 title. Bankston also won a state title last year. She was unseeded at the start of the tournament and won the No. 4 singles title.
She's amassed a 7-7 record this year having to move up two spots on the lineup.
Because of the loss of squad members at the semester break, Destiny Davis (Fr., George County/George County) has been forced to play No. 3 singles, and Chloe Fell (Fr., Bury, England/Woodhey) and Ivy Savell (Fr., Corinth/Corinth) have pitched in from the women's soccer team.
The top three teams qualify to advance to the NJCAA Division I Women's Championship in Tyler, Texas. The tournament starts May 5, and individuals who win region championship can also bring their doubles partners, which means that if either Lopareva or Bankston wins, the other will go to Texas.
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