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Lady Lakers earn berth in Division II tennis tournament

From staff reports

For the third time in four seasons, the Clayton College & State University women's tennis team has been selected to compete in the NCAA Division II Women's Tennis Mid-Atlantic Regional.

Clayton State, ranked 12th in the nation, will face off against Peach Belt Conference foe and eighth-ranked Georgia College & State University in the opening round of the event on Friday, May 7 at 10 a.m. in Savannah. The Lakers fell 5-4 to GC&SU earlier this year in Peach Belt Conference play.

The winner of Friday's match will advance to the Mid-Atlantic Regional final on Saturday, May 8 with Saturday's winner securing a berth in the NCAA Division II Women's Tennis Championships, May 12-15, in Altamonte Springs, FL. PBC foes Augusta State and second-ranked host Armstrong Atlantic State University will play in the other semifinal match on Friday.

The Lakers enter the regional, led by a trio of seniors in Nathalia Collantes, Natalia Koulechova and Jackeline Nieto.

A two-time All-America, Nieto, will enter the regional with a 10-6 record as Clayton State's top seed, while Collantes, who holds the Laker all-time best singles record at 75-17, is 16-1 on the season. Koulechova, who holds CCSU's second best all-time singles mark at 77-36, is 15-2 on the year.

Daniela Petkova's 11-5 record this season leads a group of four freshman this season. In addition to Petkova, Kim Lennartsson, Elizabeth Syrova and Michelle Zulu make up the rest of the 2004 squad.

Clayton State finished the regular season fourth in the Peach Belt Conference and currently has an 11-6 record on the year. The Lakers last played in the NCAA Regional competition in 2002, defeating Lees-McRae College and the University of North Florida to advance to the round of 16 at the NCAA Women's Tennis Championships.