The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga women’s tennis team dropped a 4-3 marathon at Samford in today’s regular season finale in Birmingham, Ala. The Mocs battled in a match that took over five hours, but came up just short against the Bulldogs.
Chattanooga finishes third in the Southern Conference race with a 7-2 record. UTC is 17-4 overall. It is the most league wins since posting a 7-2 mark in 2000 and the best SoCon finish since a third place showing in 2003.
Samford finishes second in the SoCon at 8-1 and 18-2 overall. Furman (16-5, 9-0 SoCon) is the regular season champion.
“They were just a little bit better than us today,” stated head coach Jeff Clark. “Four of the matches went to three sets, so it was very close. We hope to get another shot at them at next week’s tournament if we can get through the first round.”
The Mocs dropped the first two doubles matches to fall into a 0-1 hole in the team score. Sophomores Kayla Jones and Katie Polk battled at No. 2 to avoid the sweep. They were down 5-2 against Yasmeen Ebada and Carita Moolman before battling back for an 8-7 win.
Samford went up 2-0 with Stephanie N’tcha’s (6-4, 6-1) win over Jones at No. 1. The Mocs closed the gap to 2-1 with sophomore Kelsey Coots’ (7-5, 6-4) win over Jessica Northcutt at No. 4. It was Coots fifth win in a row as she finishes with a 7-2 mark in SoCon singles.
Samford went on to take the next two matches and secure the team win. Junior Kaylene Chadwell was battling at No. 2. She dropped her first set 7-5 to Kristin Lewis, but battled back for a 6-1 win in the second. She trailed 3-0 in the final set before winning that frame 6-4. Chadwell finishes with a 20-10 singles mark, 16-3 at No. 2 and 8-1 in SoCon action.
Polk also battled back for a three set win today. She fought off leg cramps and a 6-4 loss in the first set to defeat Lauren Caballero (4-6, 7-6, 7-5).
The Mocs now turn their attention to hosting the 2014 Southern Conference Tournament next week. Action takes place April 16-19 at the Champions Club in Chattanooga. UTC was 10-0 at home this season and is poised to make a serious run at their first title since 1997. The only other league loss was a 4-3 loss at regular season champion Furman.
Chattanooga has a first round bye and will play No. 6 seed Georgia Southern on Thursday, April 17, at 3:00 p.m. (E.D.T.). A link for live scoring will be available on the women’s tennis schedule page on GoMocs.com.
Samford 4, Chattanooga 3
Apr 12, 2014 at Birmingham, Ala. (Samford Tennis Center)
1. Kristin Lewis/Emily Mallory (SAM) def. Kaylene Chadwell/Alexa Flynn (UTC) - 8-3
2. Kayla Jones/Katie Polk (UTC) def. Carita Moolman/Yasmeen Ebada (SAM) - 8-7 (7-5)
3. Jessica Northcutt/Stephanie N'tcha (SAM) def. Kelsey Coots/Claire Mulyadi (UTC) - 8-3
1. Stephanie N'tcha (SAM) def. Kayla Jones (UTC) - 6-4, 6-1
2. Kaylene Chadwell (UTC) def. Kristin Lewis (SAM) - 5-7, 6-1, 6-4
3. Yasmeen Ebada (SAM) def. Alexa Flynn (UTC) - 4-6, 7-5, 6-2
4. Kelsey Coots (UTC) def. Jessica Northcutt (SAM) - 7-5, 6-4
5. Emily Mallory (SAM) def. Claire Mulyadi (UTC) - 6-7 (2-7), 6-3, 6-2
6. Katie Polk (UTC) def. Lauren Caballero (SAM) - 4-6, 7-6 (7-4), 7-6 (7-2)
Chattanooga 17-5, 7-2 SoCon
Samford 18-2, 8-1 SoCon
Order of finish: Doubles (3,1,2); Singles (1,4,3,5,2,6)