NORFOLK, Va., April 27, 2019—South Carolina State defeated Bethune-Cookman 4-1 at the Folkes-Stevens Tennis Center on Saturday to win the 2019 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) women’s tennis championship.
The Lady Bulldogs won their first title since 2017 and their 14th overall. South Carolina State earned the MEAC’s automatic bid to the NCAA Championship. The match started on a brisk, breezy morning, with South Carolina State squeaking out the doubles point. Karen Romero and Michelle Ncube won the No. 2 doubles match, while Andjela Mihajilovic and Ikram Rassif won the No. 3 match.
That left Rehaana Butt/Afrika Smith and Lasya Patnaik/Zainab Bendahhou at No. 1 doubles. B-CU led the match, but Patnaik and Bendahhou fought back to take the tiebreaker before ultimately winning the match 7-6 (7-4) to secure the doubles point.
That momentum carried into the Nos. 5 and singles matches, as Bendahhou defeated Romero 6-3, 6-3 at No. 5 and Jenna Hautem won 6-3, 6-3 over Smith to put South Carolina State up 3-0.
Butt gave B-CU a point with a 5-7, 6-4, 6-4 win over Rassif. Patnaik clinched the match for the Lady Bulldogs when she defeated Phatsimo Ruele 6-2, 4-6, 6-1. Bendahhou, who won all three of her singles matches during the tournament, was named the tournament’s Outstanding Performer. Hardeep Judge was named Outstanding Coach.
2019 MEAC Women’s Tennis All-Tournament Team
1: Andjela Mihajilovic, South Carolina State
2: Rehaana Butt, Bethune-Cookman
3: Lasya Patnaik, South Carolina State
4: Divya Murali, South Carolina State
5: Zainab Bendahhou, South Carolina State
6: Jenna Hautem, South Carolina State
1: Zainab Bendahhou/Lasya Patnaik, South Carolina State
2: Aylen Hubeaurt/Haleigh Porter, Florida A&M
3: Andjela Mihajilovic/Ikramm Rassif, South Carolina State
Outstanding Performer: Zainab Bendahhou, South Carolina State
Outstanding Coach: Hardeep Judge, South Carolina State
Source: Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference