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KANSAS CITY - Top-seeded Oral Roberts University opened the 2012 Summit League Women’s Tennis Championship on the right foot, taking a 4-1 victory over No. 4 seed Southern Utah University on Friday afternoon in the semifinal round. With the win, ORU (12-5) advances to face second-seeded IPFW on Saturday for the Summit League title.

Playing a man down, Southern Utah (9-10) conceded one doubles match and one singles point to the Golden Eagles out of the gate. That advantage was a massive difference for ORU, as Friday’s tussle was much closer than the regular season battle between the squads two weeks ago.

ORU needed only one doubles victory to take the opening point, and the Golden Eagles got it from Iryna Khatsko and Kristin Gray. The All-League players knocked off Ksusha Johnson and Lisa Pleskan, 8-2, to give ORU a 1-0 lead.

The lead became 2-0 when the Thunderbirds defaulted at No. 6 singles, giving All-League selection Tori Dollar an easy victory.

Marizanne Bouwer earned the first singles point for the Golden Eagles, taking a 6-1, 6-0 victory over Afton Staheli to increase the margin to 3-0. But the T-Birds were next to strike, as Olia Tatarchenko won a third court point over Haley Martin, 6-2, 6-3.

Still, the Golden Eagles needed only one victory to clinch their passage to the title round. They got it at No. 2 singles, where Lina Semenova outlasted Alex Ivanova, 6-1, 7-6 (7-5).

SUU hung tough with the Golden Eagles on nearly every court. The T-Birds held a big lead at No. 1 doubles before that match was abandoned, and both unfinished singles matches went to a third set.

Barring inclement weather, the championship match between ORU and IPFW will start at 10 am CT tomorrow at the Plaza Tennis Center in Kansas City with the Summit League title and an NCAA Tournament bid on the line.

The Mastodons have captured the past two Summit League tournaments, with ORU last winning in 2009.

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