SPARTANBURG, S.C. – The additions of junior Jordan Strickland and freshman Jacy Smith to the Southern Conference All-Conference Second Team marks the first time in the program’s history a pair of Catamounts were honored with post-season accolades as the teams were announced Tuesday by the conference office. Smith was also named to the conference’s All-Freshman Team and Strickland was given the conference’s Sportsmanship Award.
Strickland, from Cary, N.C., earns her first All-Conference second team nod in singles play. She was a second-team selection in her freshman campaign with teammate Jordan McCall in 2017 when the pair were honored in doubles. She was also a member of the All-Freshman Team in that same year. It was Strickland’s second conference Sportsmanship Award of her career and she is the first Catamount to receive it multiple times. It marks the third time a Western Carolina women’s tennis player has been given the award as Suzanna Sjokvis won it in 2007.
To close out the regular season, Strickland posted a record of 11-10 at No. 1 singles and 2-4 in conference play. She was also 12-7 in doubles with senior Savannah Taranto at the No. 1 position. She currently has 36 career wins and is just one away from tying the program record for wins in a career with former Catamount standout Stacia Kissell who ended her storied career with 37.
Smith, from Bryan Texas, has truly had a breakout freshman campaign. She became only the fifth Catamount women’s tennis player to become a member of the Southern Conference All-Freshman Team. She joins teammates Taranto, Strickland and Jordyn King, who sat out this year due to injury, who earned the distinction in the previous three seasons, and Kissell who was named All-Freshman in 2013.
Posting a record of 16-4, at No. 2 singles, Smith was also named to the SoCon All-Conference Second Team making her the first Catamount in program history to be named to the All-Freshman Team as well as all-conference. Smith’s 16 wins at No. 2 singles tied the school record for most singles wins in a season at Western Carolina with Kissell. She rode a 12-match winning streak before falling against Wofford in the final match of the regular season.
Smith also ended with a record of 5-2 in conference play as her only losses were to Furman and Wofford in singles play. She was also 11-6 at No. 2 singles with fellow freshman Julia Pezzuco.
As a team, Western Carolina ended the regular season with an overall record of 12-9 and 2-5 in SoCon play. The 12 wins by WCU is the second most in a single season by a Catamount women’s tennis team.
Western Carolina opens play in the 2019 Southern Conference Championships, to be held in Macon, Ga. on the campus of Mercer University on Thursday. The Catamounts are the No. 7 seed and will face No. 2 seed ETSU at 10:30 a.m. WCU fell to ETSU 6-1 earlier in the season with Smith earning the lone win for the Catamounts at No. 2 singles.