For the second-straight year, the College of Charleston women’s tennis team claimed the Southern Conference regular-season title outright with another undefeated 10-0 season in the record books behind a 7-0 rout of Western Carolina on Saturday afternoon at the Catamount Athletic Complex.
It was mission accomplished for the Cougars (18-7, 10-0), who returned to the Campbell/ITA Collegiate Tennis Rankings as the No. 71-ranked team in the country this week. Despite a two-hour weather delay, they adapted and played solid throughout the singles and doubles lineup against the short-handed Catamounts (2-14, 1-9).
Senior Emma Hayman (Wanganui, New Zealand) and junior Katie Lee (Brisbane, Australia) led the way in doubles with an 8-2 victory over WCU’s Carolina Lainez and Ainhoa Iglesias Díaz at the No. 1 line followed by freshman Jamie Harrell (Charleston, S.C.) and sophomore Olivia McMillan (Mt. Pleasant, S.C.) with an 8-5 decision at No. 2. Freshman Kelly Kambourelis (Melbourne, Fla.) and senior Keely Mulligan (Miami, Fla.) won by default with a walkover at No. 3.
“It was great to wrap-up a successful regular season,” College of Charleston Director of Tennis Angelo Anastopoulo said. “However, this is just a tune-up for what is to come in Chattanooga next weekend in which we will have to play at our very best. Western was a little short-handed with five players today. This was a great experience for us to play on the road. The weather delay helped our players learn how to be flexible and how to adapt to different circumstances and we were able to win.”
In singles play, all five of the matches were decided in straight sets, while one was a walkover as the Catamounts had only five players available for competition. Junior Caroline Newman (Greensboro, N.C.) and Kambourelis won their 11 consecutive dual match as Newman defeated Lainez, 6-4, 6-3, at the No. 2 line and Kambourelis held off Karen Jiménez, 6-2, 6-4, at No. 4.
The Cougars will look to defend their 2010 tournament title at the upcoming 2011 SoCon Tennis Championships on April 20-23 in Chattanooga, Tenn. As the No. 1 seed, they received a first-round bye and will face either the No. 8 or No. 9 seed in the quarterfinals on Thursday, April 21, at 8:30 a.m. (ET).
“We will take Sunday off to rest and will work on concentrating and solidifying our strengths on Monday and Tuesday in practice,” Anastopoulo said. “The Southern Conference Tournament is wide open this year and will be a great challenge for us. We look forward to traveling with the men’s team and it should be a lot of fun, especially with a lot of our families there to support and cheer us on.”