|UNCW Wins 1st CAA Women's Tennis Title|
WILLIAMSBURG, Virginia – Eleven proved to be a lucky number, indeed, for the UNCW women’s tennis team.
The No. 1-seeded Seahawks won their 11th straight match and it couldn’t have been any more dramatic as Coach Evan Clark’s team edged No. 2 seed College of Charleston, 4-3, to capture their first Colonial Athletic Association Women’s Tennis Championship late Sunday at William & Mary’s Millie West Tennis Facility.
UNCW extended its record to 17-3 overall and finished a perfect 7-0 in the CAA with Sunday’s thrilling win. The Seahawks downed No. 8 Hofstra, No. 4 James Madison and No. 2 CofC in succession en route to the championship.
The Seahawks made their first appearance in the CAA finals last spring and were determined to take advantage of this year’s return trip. With the match knotted at 3-all, it all came down to the No. 1 singles match, where 2014 CAA Player-of-the-Year Angie Sekely delivered a 7-6 (1), 6-3 victory against Kelly Kamboourelis to secure the school’s first conference women’s title.
“It was a special day for a special group of players,” said second-year Head Coach Evan Clark. “We talked last night about finding a way to win. It was a tight match and we just found a way. Give credit to the College of Charleston for playing a tough match.
“It makes it even more special to be the first team in the school’s history to win the conference women’s tennis championship. I was fortunate to inherit a great group and we added on to it. It’s a nice feeling to get that first one.”
Charleston grabbed a 1-0 advantage in the match by taking two of the three doubles matches for the early point. It was only the third time this season the Seahawks dropped the doubles point.
UNCW’s No. 3 team of Kelly Cameron and Miller Hales remained unbeaten by blanking Brooke McAmis and Grace Baker, 8-0, for their 13th win of the season without a loss. But Charleston bounced back with wins at No. 1 and No. 2 doubles to grab the momentum.
“It’s always nice to win the doubles point,” Clark reflected, “but we didn’t push the panic button. There were still six points out there. Charleston played great in doubles, but you have to give credit to our team for finding a way in singles.”
The Cougars increased the margin to 2-0 in singles when Mara Arygriou won in straight sets over UNCW freshman Annika Sillanpaa, 6-4, 6-1, at the No. 3 position. Senior Olga Blank then got the Seahawks on the board with a 6-2, 6-1 triumph over McAmis at No. 2 singles to slice the lead to 2-1.
UNCW pulled even on the next match off the court when junior Alyssa Ritchie downed Samantha Maddox, 6-4, 6-1, at No. 4 singles and then jumped ahead, 3-2, on a 7-6 (4), 6-2 decision by Cameron at No. 6 singles over Jenny Falcone.
Charleston bounced back to tie the score at 3-all, however, on a 6-4, 6-4 victory by Katherine Schofield against Christine Kharkevitch at No. 5 singles, setting up the decisive match at No. 1 singles.
2014 CAA Women’s Tennis Championships
April 18-20, 2014 – College of William & Mary – Williamsburg, Va.
Friday, April 18, 2014 – Quarterfinals
#1 UNCW 4, #8 Hofstra 0
#4 James Madison 4, #5 Delaware 0
#2 College of Charleston 4, #7 Towson 0
#3 William & Mary 4, #6 Drexel 2
Saturday, April 19, 2014 – Semifinals
#1 UNCW 4, #4 James Madison 0
#2 College of Charleston 4, #3 William & Mary 0
Sunday, April 20, 2014 – Championship
#1 UNCW 4, #2 College of Charleston 3