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Top-seeded Spartans kick off SoCon Championship title quest Friday

Courtesy: UNCGSpartans.com
         
Release: April 19, 2012
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No. 1 seed UNCG at Southern Conference Championship, April 20-22, Charleston, S.C.

Live stats: UNCGSpartans.com (via SoConSports.com)

Storylines

- Top-seeded UNCG opens its quest for its first-ever Southern Conference Championship title when it takes the courts Friday in the quarterfinal round of the tournament. The Spartans will face the winner of Thursday's contest between No. 8 seed Georgia Southern and No. 9 seed Davidson.

- College of Charleston and The Citadel are sharing hosting duties of the SoCon tournament. Thursday's first round will be played at the College of Charleston Tennis Center, while Friday's quarterfinals will be at the Bulldogs' O. Perry Earle, Jr. Tennis Center. The semifinals and final will be played at the CofC Tennis Center on Saturday and Sunday, respectively.

- UNCG is trying to become the first team other than Furman or College of Charleston to win the tournament since 1997, as those two teams have combined to win the last 14 tournament titles.

- UNCG is 8-13 all-time in the SoCon Championship. The Spartans have reached the semifinals six times but are still looking for their first appearance in the final. UNCG's top seed is its second ever and first since 1999. The Spartans went 1-1 at the tournament in Chattanooga, Tenn., last year, beating Georgia Southern 4-1 in the quarterfinals before falling to Furman 4-1 in the semifinals.

 -The Spartans have only faced Georgia Southern in the SoCon tournament once, winning last season. UNCG has faced Davidson just once, also, falling 5-4 in the 1998 tournament, the Spartans' first as a member of the SoCon.

- The Spartans won their first-ever outright SoCon regular-season title this year, going 16-5 overall and 10-0 in the league. The title was UNCG's second overall, as the squad shared the title with Furman in 1999 – the last year a team other than Furman or CofC won the regular season.

- UNCG cruised to a 7-0 win over Western Carolina on Sunday to complete the undefeated SoCon slate. The Spartans have now won 11 of their last 12 matches.

- Redshirt junior Niltooli Wilkins and coach Jeff Trivette headlined the postseason SoCon awards, as Wilkins was named the league's player of the year and Trivette the coach of the year. Trivette became just the third coach in league history to earn the award on both the men's and women's sides, as he was the men's coach of the year in 2001.

- The Spartans took home plenty of hardware from the SoCon. In addition to being named the player of the year, Wilkins earned first-team All-SoCon honors in singles and doubles for the second straight season. Lucy Dougherty was also a first-team doubles honoree alongside Wilkins, while Annette Rios (No. 3) and Stephanie Falcon (No. 6) took second-team singles honors and Rios and Kayla Gammie (No. 3) took second-team doubles accolades.

- Wilkins paces UNCG with a 29-6 singles record and is 19-1 in dual play, all at No. 1. She has won 19 straight since opening the dual campaign with a 7-5, 7-5 loss to No. 44 Zoe De Bruycker of North Carolina on Jan. 18. Wilkins has matched the school record of 29 wins set by Alejandra Guerra in 2009.

- Falcon, a freshman, is second on the squad with a 25-9 record (14-7 dual), while Rios is 18-13 overall and 14-7 in duals and Devon Sutherland is 16-9 overall and 9-3 in dual play. Alex Whitehead is 16-14 overall (11-8 dual), while Dougherty is 12-14 overall (8-7 dual) to give the Spartans six players in double digits in singles wins.

- In doubles play, Wilkins and Dougherty, who have been ranked as high as 40th nationally this season, are 21-10 with a 12-5 dual mark. Whitehead and Sutherland are 14-2 together (13-2 at No. 2) and Gammie and Rios are 18-4 with a 16-2 dual mark, mostly at No. 3. The latter duo has won 14 of its last 15 matches.

- The Spartans have won the doubles point in 19 straight matches with nine sweeps this season.

- UNCG finished 8-1 at home this year with a 5-0 mark at the UNCG Tennis Courts and a 3-1 mark at the Piedmont Indoor Tennis Center. The Spartans are 8-4 outside of Greensboro and 8-3 in true road matches.

- Georgia Southern is 5-14 this season and went 2-8 in the league. GSU lost 10 of its final 11 matches, but the one win was a 4-2 triumph over Davidson on March 31.

- Paola Garrido, a first-team All-SoCon pick, leads the Eagles with a 12-7 dual mark, all at No. 1, but she is the only GSU player with a winning record. Allison Beeler is second on the team with an 8-11 record spread out between Nos. 2-5.

- In doubles play, Garrido and Caitlin Kitchen are 7-4 together with a 4-1 mark at No. 2. Natalie Maffett and Alexis Prickett are 3-6 overall and 3-5 at No. 1.

- UNCG took a 5-2 win over Georgia Southern on March 25 of this season at the Piedmont Indoor Tennis Center. GSU picked up its two wins in super tiebreakers at the bottom of the singles order.

- In last year's tournament, the seventh-seeded Eagles beat No. 10 seed Western Carolina 4-0 in the first round before falling to the second-seeded Spartans by the same score in the quarterfinals.

- Davidson is 5-18 overall this season and went 2-8 in the SoCon, tying with GSU and Wofford. The Wildcats lost 14 of their last 16 to end the season, including a 7-0 loss at Furman in their regular-season finale.

- Brites Moniz-Soares earned second-team All-SoCon distinction at No. 2 singles for the Wildcats. She is the only Davidson player to post a winning record, going 14-6 in dual play with a 13-3 mark at No. 2. Nisha Crouser is second on the squad at 7-14, including a 3-8 record at No. 3. Stephani Sinn is 0-16 at No. 1.

- In doubles action, Moniz-Soares and Katharine Dicconson are 6-5 together with a 5-5 record at No. 2. Crouser and Sinn are 1-10 at No. 1.

- The Spartans took a 6-1 road win over the Wildcats on March 21, with Moniz-Soares grabbing Davidson's lone win at No. 2 singles.

- Last year, 11th-seeded Davidson fell to No. 6 seed Elon 4-1 in the SoCon tournament's first round.

AGATE
2012 Southern Conference Women's Tennis Championship
Thursday, April 19 (College of Charleston Tennis Center, Mt. Pleasant, S.C.)
Match 1: #8 Georgia Southern vs. #9 Davidson, 1 p.m.
Match 2: #7 Elon vs. #10 Wofford, 3 p.m.
Match 3: #6 Appalachian State vs. #11 Western Carolina, 5 p.m.

Friday, April 20 (O. Perry Earle, Jr. Tennis Center, Charleston, S.C.)
Match 4: #1 UNCG vs. Winner Match 1, 8:30 a.m.
Match 5: #4 Samford vs. #5 Chattanooga, 10:30 a.m.
Match 6: #2 College of Charleston vs. Winner Match 2, 1 p.m.
Match 7: #3 Furman vs. Winner Match 3, 3 p.m.

Saturday, April 21 (College of Charleston Tennis Center, Mt. Pleasant, S.C.)
Match 8: Winner Match 4 vs. Winner Match 5, 1 p.m.
Match 9: Winner Match 6 vs. Winner Match 7, 3 p.m.

Sunday, April 22 (College of Charleston Tennis Center, Mt. Pleasant, S.C.)
Match 10: Winner Match 8 vs. Winner Match 9, 2 p.m.

- UNCG -

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