DELAND, Florida - Sophomore Angie Sekely won her 13th straight singles outing and No. 75 UNCW extended its winning streak to seven matches by racing past host Stetson, 6-1, in women's tennis action Thursday at the Mandy Stoll Tennis Center.
The Seahawks improved to 13-5 overall by beating the Hatters in the opening leg of a two-match swing to the Sunshine State. Stetson now stands 11-5 after suffering its second straight loss.
"I was very impressed with our team's grittiness today over a very tough Stetson squad that has had a very good year," said Jenny Garrity, UNCW's veteran coach. "They are a well-coached team and came in with a lot of confidence. We had not been on the road for awhile and I was impressed with the focus and energy we had."
UNCW took two of the three doubles matches to capture the early point against the Hatters. The top tandem of Christina Lee and Alyssa Ritchie started the momentum with an 8-4 win over Stetson's MayaBlue Stauffer-MacDowell and Shannno Gunning. The Colonial Athletic Association's reigning Doubles Team-of-the-Week, Olga Blank and Angie Sekely, then clinched the point and improved to 5-0 by downing Sara Lazarevic and Lindsey Cable by an identical score.
According to Garrity, "We knew we had to have a strong performance in doubles against an aggressive team like Stetson, and we did a good job of staying the course with our game plan."
In singles, Ritchie was the first off the court after belting Diana Bukajeva, 6-4, 6-1, at the No. 4 position to give UNCW a 2-0 advantage. After Stetson won at No. 6 singles to narrow the deficit, Blank pushed the margin to 3-1 by trimming Gunning, 6-4, 7-5, at No. 2 singles. Lee served up the clincher at the top of the lineup by pounding Lazarevic, 6-4, 6-2, for a 4-1 lead.
Sekely then raised her record to a team-leading 15-4 by knocking off Clarke Tatje, 7-6 (4), 6-3, at No. 3 singles before junior Christina Riley outlasted Cable, 6-4, 2-6, 1-0 (10-5), at the No. 5 slot.
The Hatters were coached by former N.C. State standout Chastity (Chandler) Bradley, whom Garrity coached in Raleigh. "It was neat to see Chastity and how well she's done at Stetson. They are fighters like she was in college and I saw lot of her in them. It was fun going against them today.
"We have a quick turnaround and we look forward to a tough battle against USF, one of the hottest teams in their league right now. We look forward to that challenge."
The Seahawks return to action Friday with a 3 p.m. matchup against 37th-ranked South Florida in Tampa before returning home to close out the regular season next Friday, April 13, against visiting UNC Greensboro.