|No. 14 Clemson Spoils UNCW's NCAA Debut|
CLEMSON, South Carolina – No. 14 Clemson won the doubles point and then waited out a 1:30 rain delay to down NCAA newbie UNCW, 4-0, in a first-round match in the NCAA Women’s Tennis Championships at Clemson’s Hoke Sloan Tennis Center on Friday.
The Tigers, who tied for the regular season championship in the Atlantic Coast Conference, pushed their record to 21-6 on the season and will take on Auburn on Saturday at 1 p.m. for the opportunity to advance to the Sweet Sixteen.
The Seahawks, appearing in the NCAA Regionals for the first time, had their 12-match winning streak snapped and closed out the year at 17-4.
“We came out a little tight and nervous, but once we got over that, we played very well,” said second-year Head Coach Evan Clark, the 2014 Colonial Athletic Association Coach-of-the-Year. “I was pleased with how we played across the board after the first couple games. Unfortunately, it was a little too late.”
The two teams tangled in doubles first and began singles action before entering a rain delay at 3 p.m. When play resumed at 4:30 p.m., Clemson continued in control and closed out the match without surrendering a point.
In doubles action, Clemson’s No. 2 team of Romy Koelzer and Tristen Dewar defeated UNCW’s Angie Sekely and Alyssa Ritchie, 8-2, to be the first off the court and the No. 3 tandem of Joana Eidukonyte and Jessy Rompies clinched the early point with an 8-3 decision against Kelly Cameron and Miller Hales.
Clemson’s Beatrica Gumulya, ranked No. 100 by the ITA, gave the Tigers a 2-0 advantage at No. 3 singles when she beat CAA Rookie-of-the-Year Annika Sillanpaa, 6-0, 6-1. Yana Koroleva, ranked 34th nationally, topped Angie Sekely, 6-2, 6-2, at the top of the lineup for a 3-0 cushion.
Dewar then delivered the clincher at No. 4 singles with a 6-1, 6-3, triumph against Ritchie, ending a historic season for the Seahawks.
“This team will go down as the best ever at UNCW and this loss doesn’t take anything away from what they accomplished,” said Clark. “In my opinion, Clemson could be a top-4 team and they could win a national championship…they are that good.
“Clemson played very, very well in singles and came out with guns blazing. We were on defense a lot. We had some tough conditions to play in with the move indoors, but we hung in there and fought to the last ball.”