Kearney, Neb. – The ninth-ranked Central Oklahoma Bronchos got a key win at number three doubles to beat Nebraska-Kearney, 5-2, in an NCAA Tournament second round match Sunday afternoon in Edmond. With the win the ‘Chos (19-3) move onto the NCAA “Sweet 16” in Surprise, Ariz., May 8-11. UNK ends the year at 16-8 and is now 6-11 all-time in the NCAA’s. After upsetting No. 13 Southwest Baptist on Saturday, the sixth-seeded Lopers were at it again today. While UCO allowed seven combined points in the first two doubles matches to take a 2-0 lead, UNK was up 8-7 at number three. On Saturday, UNK won 9-8 (7-2) at number two to tally a key point. However, the tables were flipped this time around as Alix Williams and Sarah Van Eeckhoudt got by senior Emma Neil (Papillion) and junior Camryn Parnell (Lee’s Summit, Mo.) by a 9-8 (7-2) score. UCO moved ahead 4-0 after a straight sets win at number four but Neil did the same at number five (6-4, 6-0) as did senior Amanda Alvarez at number three (6-2, 6-0).
But, 23rd-ranked Laetitia Charbonnet managed to get past freshman Zhanel Turarbek (6-3, 7-5) to clinch things for UCO. In the unfinished matches, No. 36 Ali Hodges was ahead of sophomore Ana Royo (7-5, 5-2) with freshman Claire Neil about to beat Williams (6-3, 5-4) at number six. This is the second straight year UCO has ended UNK’s season; the ‘Chos handed the Lopers a 5-3 setback in an NCAA first round match held in Tahlequah, Okla. This also marks the fifth straight spring an Oklahoma school has bested UNK in the NCAA’s, the others being Northeastern State and Southeastern Oklahoma State. Emma Neil leaves as a four-year starter and the winningest player (167) in school history with Alvarez a two-time All-MIAA player in her two years at Kearney. Finally, Royo will player her final two seasons at Division I Wyoming.