No. 74 UNCG clinches share of SoCon title with win over Elon
For video of UNCG coach Jeff Trivette's post-match comments, click here.
GREENSBORO, N.C. – UNCG's 74th-ranked women's tennis team picked up a 5-2 win over Southern Conference rival Elon on Tuesday at the UNCG Tennis Courts to clinch at least a share of the regular-season league title for the first time since 1999 and the top seed in the upcoming conference tournament.
The Spartans, who jumped into the Campbell/ITA Women's Team Rankings on Tuesday, won their 10th straight match to improve to 15-4 overall and 9-0 in the SoCon, assuring themselves of no worse than a share of the regular-season championship. UNCG can clinch its first-ever outright SoCon title with a win at Western Carolina on Sunday.
UNCG's ranking is its first since a two-week stay at No. 70 in March 2011.
With the win, UNCG locked up the No. 1 seed in the SoCon Championship, which will be held in Charleston, S.C., from April 19-22. Only Furman or College of Charleston could potentially catch UNCG in the standings if the Spartans fall at Western, but UNCG holds the tiebreaker over both teams.
UNCG won the doubles point for the 17th straight match Tuesday, claiming wins at Nos. 2 and 3 for the early 1-0 lead over the Phoenix (15-8, 5-5 SoCon).
Devon Sutherland and Alex Whitehead got things started with an 8-3 win over Maria Camara Ruiz and Barbora Lazarova at No. 2, but Elon's tandem of Frida Jansaker and Jordan Johnston evened the score with an 8-4 win over Lucy Dougherty and Niltooli Wilkins at No. 1. The Phoenix duo improved to 19-2 overall and finished SoCon play 9-1 at No. 1.
The Spartans' Kayla Gammie and Annette Rios continued to roll at No. 3, grabbing an 8-3 win over Briana Berne and Viviana Stavreva to clinch the point. The win was Gammie and Rios' 13th straight.
Whitehead made quick work of Bryn Khoury at No. 2 to open singles play, taking a 6-1, 6-3 win. Wilkins wrapped up her match at No. 1 just moments later, completing her own 6-1, 6-3 win over Johnston. Wilkins' victory was her 17th straight and pushed her record to 27-6 on the year. She needs just two more wins to equal the school record set by Alejandra Guerra in 2009.
Jansaker got Elon on the board with her 6-1, 6-4 win over Dilara Yurtkuran at No. 3, but Annette Rios clinched the match for UNCG a few minutes later with her 6-4, 6-3 win over Lazarova at No. 4.
The fifth and sixth flights were decided in super tiebreakers, with Sutherland pulling out a 6-2, 4-6, 1-0 (10-6) win over Camara Ruiz at No. 6. UNCG's Stephanie Falcon battled back from a first-set loss to force the super at No. 5, but Stavreva picked up the 6-2, 5-7, 1-0 (10-6) win.
The Spartans head to Wilmington, N.C., for a match at UNCW on Friday at 2:30 p.m. before closing out the regular season at Western Carolina on Sunday at 1 p.m.
#74 UNCG 5, Elon 2
1. Niltooli Wilkins (UNCG) def. Jordan Johnston (ELON) 6-1, 6-3
2. Alex Whitehead (UNCG) def. Bryn Khoury (ELON) 6-1, 6-3
3. Frida Jansaker (ELON) def. Dilara Yurtkuran (UNCG) 6-1, 6-4
4. Annette Rios (UNCG) def. Barbora Lazarova (ELON) 6-4, 6-3
5. Viviana Stavreva (ELON) def. Stephanie Falcon (UNCG) 7-6 (7-5), 5-7, 1-0 (10-6)
6. Devon Sutherland (UNCG) def. Maria Camara Ruiz (ELON) 6-2, 4-6, 1-0 (10-6)
1. Frida Jansaker/Jordan Johnston (ELON) def. Lucy Dougherty/Niltooli Wilkins (UNCG) 8-4
2. Devon Sutherland/Alex Whitehead (UNCG) def. Maria Camara Ruiz/Barbora Lazarova (ELON) 8-3
3. Kayla Gammie/Annette Rios (UNCG) def. Briana Berne/Viviana Stavreva (ELON) 8-5
Elon 15-8, 5-5 SoCon
UNCG 15-4, 9-0 SoCon; National ranking #74
Order of finish: Doubles (2,1,3); Singles (2,1,3,4,6,5)
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