Spartans top Chattanooga 4-0 to reach first SoCon title match
MT. PLEASANT, S.C. – No. 1 seed UNCG downed fifth-seeded Chattanooga 4-0 in the semifinals of the Southern Conference Women's Tennis Championship at the College of Charleston Tennis Center on Saturday to reach the tournament final for the first time in school history. Redshirt junior Niltooli Wilkins won her 30th singles match of the season to set a new school record.
The Spartans (18-5) will face No. 2 seed College of Charleston, a 5-0 winner over No. 3 seed Furman on Saturday, in Sunday's final. UNCG will be trying for its first-ever NCAA appearance at the Division I level.
After UNCG picked up the doubles point, Wilkins wrapped her match at No. 1 singles first, topping Jenna Nurik 6-0, 6-3 to run her winning streak to 20 matches and her record to 30-6. She now stands alone in school history for most wins in a season, breaking a tie with Alejandra Guerra, who set the previous school record of 29 in 2009.
Dilara Yurtkuran made it a 3-0 match with her straight-sets win at No. 3, downing Alexa Flynn 6-2, 6-4. Stephanie Falcon then clinched the match at No. 5, overcoming a first-set loss to take a 3-6, 7-6 (7-3), 6-2 win over Emily Hangstefer and send the Spartans to the final.
Three singles matches were left unfinished. UNCG's Devon Sutherland was leading Claire Mulyadi at No. 6 by a 7-5, 4-4 count, while the matches at Nos. 2 and 4 were in third sets. Alex Whitehead was slightly ahead of Kaylene Chadwell at No. 2, as she led 2-6, 7-6 (7-3), 1-0. At No. 4, Annette Rios won her opening set against Shaina Singh 6-1 but dropped the second 7-5 and was behind 2-0 in the third.
In doubles play, Wilkins and Lucy Dougherty rolled to an 8-1 win over Flynn and Chadwell at No. 1 but Nurik and Mulyadi handed Rios and Kayla Gammie a rare loss at No. 3, 8-4. The duo fell to 19-5 on the season with just their third loss of the dual campaign.
Sutherland and Whitehead clinched the point for UNCG at No. 2, winning the final three games to take a 9-7 win over Singh and Hangstefer. The tandem improved to 15-2 on the year as UNCG won the doubles point for the 21st straight match.
Chattanooga finished its season with a 16-6 record.
Sunday's title match will begin at 2 p.m. at the CofC Tennis Center. In addition to looking for their first-ever SoCon tournament title, the Spartans will be trying to become the first team other than Furman or College of Charleston to win the tournament since it went to the team format in 1998. CofC is the three-time defending champion.
Live stats can be found at UNCGSpartans.com, via SoConSports.com.
UNCG 4, Chattanooga 0
1. Niltooli Wilkins (UNCG) def. Jenna Nurik (UTC) 6-0, 6-3
2. Alex Whitehead (UNCG) vs. Kaylene Chadwell (UTC) 2-6, 7-6 (7-3), 1-0, unfinished
3. Dilara Yurtkuran (UNCG) def. Alexa Flynn (UTC) 6-2, 6-4
4. Annette Rios (UNCG) vs. Shaina Singh (UTC) 6-1, 5-7, 0-2, unfinished
5. Stephanie Falcon (UNCG) def. Emily Hangstefer (UTC) 3-6, 7-6 (7-3), 6-2
6. Devon Sutherland (UNCG) vs. Claire Mulyadi (UTC) 7-5, 4-4, unfinished
1. Niltooli Wilkins/Lucy Dougherty (UNCG) def. Alexa Flynn/Kaylene Chadwell (UTC) 8-1
2. Devon Sutherland/Alex Whitehead (UNCG) def. Shaina Singh/Emily Hangstefer (UTC) 9-7
3. Jenna Nurik/Claire Mulyadi (UTC) def. Kayla Gammie/Annette Rios (UNCG) 8-4
Order of finish: Doubles (1,3,2); Singles (1,3,5)
- UNCG -