Furman Women Favored in SoCon Tennis

Championship at Champions Cub

Wednesday, April 16, 2014 - by B.B. Branton

On Tuesday, the Furman women’s tennis team took home important Southern Conference hardware – Player, Freshman and Coach of the Year honors.

But what the Paladins dearly want is to put their collective hands on the team championship trophy Saturday afternoon at the Champions Club courts.

The Paladins’ Debbie Southern is coach of the year and Ansley Speaks captured freshman and player of the year honors.

Furman has the No.1 seed, a 9-0 SoCon record, and is the solid favorite to win, but seeds 2-4  Samford, Chattanooga and Elon hope to have a voice, maybe a loud voice, in who wins on Saturday.

If You Are Going

SoCon Tennis Tournament:

Place: Champions Club in Rivermont


Admission: Free

Go to SoCon.com for men’s and women’s brackets and results

Wednesday Schedule

Men’s Matches – both at 11 a.m. (new time from original schedule)

No.8 Davidson vs. No.9 UTC … No 7 Wofford vs. No.10 The Citadel

Women’s Matches - both at 3 p.m. (new time)

No. 8 Davidson vs. No.9 Wofford

No.7 App State vs. No.10 Western Carolina

Thursday – Quarters … Friday – Semis … Saturday - Finals


Preview of Top Four Women’s Seeds

No.1 Seed - Furman (16-5, 9-0) - beat No.2 Samford, No.3 Chattanooga and No.4 Elon, all 4-3

Led by Ansley Speaks – 2014 Freshman of the Year, 2014 Player of the Year …

Coach – Debbie Southern (30th season - 451 wins) ITA Women’s Collegiate Tennis Hall of Fame

Team: Speaks (15-5 in singles) is one of three starting freshmen and is joined by doubles players Katherine Oudin/Alex Moreno-Kaste on the SoCon first team … Speaks, Karlee Bryde and Blair Martin made the SoCon All-Freshman Team … Katherine Oudin is younger sister of Melanie Oudin who reached the U.S. Open quarters in 2009 and was U.S. Open mixed doubles champ ... the Oudin’s are relatives of the late Frank Willett who was a standout tennis player at Ga. Tech in the 1940s, moved to Chattanooga in late 1950s and was a top adult player throughout the South … 

SoCon Titles – 16 … last won it in 2008 …

No.2 Seed - Samford (18-2, 8-1) … comes in with 7 match win streak and 16 of last 17 … loss was at Furman … only other loss was to Auburn … beat UTC (4-3) and Elon (5-2)

Top Players - Stephanie N’tcha is first team All-SoCon singles and doubles (w/Kristen Lewis)

No.6 singles Lauren Caballero (12-4 in singles this spring) led Ravenwood (Tenn.) to a pair of D-I AAA state titles and she won two doubles state crowns

SoCon Titles - None

No.3 Seed - Chattanooga (17-4, 7-2) … 10-0 at home this season … and 13 straight over two years … last loss at home was to Furman (4-3), March 24, 2013 … 29-3 at home last three years … has first team All-SoCon players in Kayla Jones (singles) and Kaylene Chadwell/Alexa Flynn (doubles) …  senior Flynn has 74 career singles wins and 73 in doubles … Chadwell (Tenn.) and Kelsey Coots (Ala.) were prep state champions … Mocs beat Elon, 4-3, and lost to Samford and Furman, 4-3, both matches on the road.

Coach – Jeff Clark  (10th year; 130-93)   took team to SoCon semis in 2012 …

SoCon Titles – 5 (1984-85-86-88-90) … UTC won the inaugural SoCon title 30 years ago in 1984 … and claimed 5 of the first 7 … last title came in 1990

No.4 Seed – Elon (12-8, 6-3) … 8-1 at home … lost 4-3 to Furman …

Sr. Jordan Johnston is first team All-SoCon … has win over SoCon player of the year, Ansley Speaks …

In 2013… Elon beat Furman, 4-0, in semis and lost to College of Charleston in final ... No.4 Elon and No.1 Furman are in the top half bracket and should meet in Friday’s semis.

SoCon Titles - 0

contact B.B. Branton at william.branton@comcast.net

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