Spartans down No. 61 CofC 5-2 to keep winning streak alive
For video of UNCG coach Jeff Trivette's post-match comments, click here.
GREENSBORO, N.C. – In its second straight Southern Conference first-place clash, UNCG remained undefeated in league play with a 5-2 win over No. 61 College of Charleston at the UNCG Tennis Courts on Saturday to bolster its chances for its first-ever outright SoCon title. The UNCG win snapped CofC's 36-match winning streak against conference opponents.
The Spartans, who won their ninth straight match, improved to 14-4 overall and 8-0 in SoCon play. The Cougars, who saw their 14-match winning streak come to an end, fell to 18-5 overall and 7-1 in the conference. The loss was CofC's first against a SoCon foe since the 2009 season. The Cougars had won 29 consecutive regular-season matches against league opponents since then and 36 overall including tournament play.
In knocking CofC from the ranks of unbeaten, UNCG now controls its own destiny in its pursuit of the regular-season SoCon title and top seed in the upcoming conference tournament. UNCG last won a SoCon title in 1999, when it shared top billing with Furman. This year's edition has a chance for its first-ever outright championship, as the Spartans are the last undefeated team in league play. UNCG still has conference matches against Elon and Western Carolina left on the docket this year.
Fittingly, UNCG's Niltooli Wilkins clinched the match at No. 1 singles. The redshirt junior topped Christin Newman 6-3, 6-1, running her winning streak to 16 matches and improving to 8-0 in SoCon play. Wilkins' record now stands at 26-6 on the season, meaning she is still on pace to challenge Alejandra Guerra's school record of 29 wins, which has stood since 2009.
The Spartans got the day started right by taking the doubles point, getting wins at Nos. 1 and 3. Wilkins and Lucy Dougherty picked up an 8-3 win over Jamie Harrell and Irene Viana at No. 1, but the Cougars' Jenny Falcone and Kelly Kambourelis countered with a tight 9-8 (7-3) win over Devon Sutherland and Alex Whitehead at No. 2, snapping the Spartan duo's nine-match winning streak.
Kayla Gammie and Annette Rios clinched the point for UNCG at No. 3, staving off Greensboro natives Christin and Caroline Newman by a 9-7 score to run their winning streak to 12 matches.
Once in singles play, Rios put UNCG up 2-0 with a 6-3, 6-1 win over Samantha Maddox at No. 4. Stephanie Falcon made it 3-0 with her 6-2, 6-3 win over Katie Lee at No. 6, putting UNCG on the brink of victory. Rios and Falcon both improved to 7-1 in league play.
Kambourelis gave the Cougars life at No. 2 with a 6-3, 6-3 win over Whitehead, but Wilkins slammed home a forehand winner at No. 1 to clinch the match.
CofC's Falcone picked up a 7-6 (7-5), 6-0 victory over Dougherty at No. 5, and Dilara Yurtkuran pulled out a 3-6, 7-6 (7-4), 1-0 (10-6) win over Caroline Newman at No. 3 for the final margin.
UNCG's win snapped College of Charleston's 19-match winning streak in the series and was the Spartans' first over the Cougars since Feb. 28, 1999.
The match was the Spartans' second straight first-place showdown in league play. When UNCG hosted Furman last weekend, the two came into the match with identical 6-0 SoCon records and were tied atop the conference standings. The Spartans took that match by a 5-2 score, as well.
Furman and College of Charleston are SoCon women's tennis royalty, as the squads have combined to win the last 14 league tournament titles and the last 13 regular-season titles, although Furman shared the first in that run with UNCG in 1999.
UNCG hosts its final home contest of the season Tuesday when rival Elon comes to town for a 2 p.m. match at the UNCG Tennis Courts.
UNCG 5, #61 College of Charleston 2
1. Niltooli Wilkins (UNCG) def. Christin Newman (COFC) 6-3, 6-1
2. Kelly Kambourelis (COFC) def. Alex Whitehead (UNCG) 6-3, 6-3
3. Dilara Yurtkuran (UNCG) def. Caroline Newman (COFC) 3-6, 7-6 (7-4), 1-0 (10-6)
4. Annette Rios (UNCG) def. Samantha Maddox (COFC) 6-3, 6-1
5. Jenny Falcone (COFC) def. Lucy Dougherty (UNCG) 7-6 (7-5), 6-0
6. Stephanie Falcon (UNCG) def. Katie Lee (COFC) 6-2, 6-3
1. Lucy Dougherty/Niltooli Wilkins (UNCG) def. Jamie Harrell/Irene Viana (COFC) 8-3
2. Jenny Falcone/Kelly Kambourelis (COFC) def. Devon Sutherland/Alex Whitehead (UNCG) 9-8 (7-3)
3. Kayla Gammie/Annette Rios (UNCG) def. Caroline Newman/Christin Newman (COFC) 9-7
College of Charleston 18-5, 7-1 SoCon; National ranking #61
UNCG 14-4, 8-0 SoCon
Order of finish: Doubles (1,2,3); Singles (4,6,2,1,5,3)
- UNCG -