Feb. 22, 2014
Cullowhee, N.C. - On Saturday afternoon, in their first home match of the 2014 campaign, Western Carolina and Presbyterian College played to a 3-3 draw at the tennis courts of the Catamount Athletic Complex.
"We came out there fighting at every position," head coach Michaela Kissell-Eddins said. "To be able to win three of five singles matches is really huge."
WCU (0-4-1) defaulted the No. 3 doubles match, to give Presbyterian (3-4-1) an early edge in gaining the point from the doubles matches.
The Blue Hose earned the doubles point from the No. 1 doubles match as WCU's Stacia Kissell and Shannon Bettiol fell to Patricia Alves and Courtney Gardiner, 8-3. Each team split the first two sets, but Presbyterian won games three through five to take a commanding lead. Kissell and Bettiol battled back to win games number six, but lost the next three. Trailing 7-2, WCU's No. 1 doubles team won point number 10, but dropped the next game to end the match.
In the No. 2 doubles match, Sara Ruiz Pajares and Megan McLinden were defeated by Caroline deLoach and Kayla Stanford, 8-4. Ruiz and McLinden fell behind 3-1 after four points but battled back to win games five, seven and nine, to draw within one. They failed to gain anymore ground, as deLoach and Stanford won the last three games to seal the set and match victory for the Blue Hose.
"Doubles is such a fast paced game, there really is no room for hesitation or fear on the court." Kissell-Eddins said. "You have to really take it to your opponent. Today I thought we were very timid at times. For tomorrow, we just have to go out there and leave it all on the court, there's no playing not to lose. We've got to go out there and take it."
The Purple & Gold pulled back even at 1-1 as Stacia Kissell won her fourth match of the season defeating Greer Ransom in the No. 1 singles match, 6-1, 6-3. Kissell and Ransom split the first two game of the first set then Kissell went on to win the next five games to claim a 1-0 lead in the match. In the second set Kissell fell behind early 2-1, but came back to win four of the next five games to capture the set at 6-3.
Erin Maguire also found the winning formula today as she won in straight sets against Antonia Conze, 6-3, 6-2, in the No. 5 singles match of the afternoon. Maguire was down early to Conze, 3-2, in the first set, but climbed back to take the last four games and claim a first set victory. Maguire continued her hot streak into the second set, claiming the first four games. Conze and Maguire split the final four games, which sealed a Maguire victory and another singles point for the Catamounts.
In the No. 2 singles match of the day, Shannon Bettiol fell in a tough contest against Caroline deLoach, 7-5, 7-6. Neither participant gave the other any breathing room in this match, as Bettiol and deLoach traded the first ten games to stay even at five each. deLoach outlasted Bettiol to gain the last two games of the first set. The second set proved no differently as Bettiol and deLoach exchanged games, similar to set one. In the end, Bettiol dropped a tough last game to deLoach to end the match.
Ruiz Pajares also was in a highly contested singles match against Patricia Alves. Ruiz Pajares won the first set 6-3 but could not seal the deal, falling in the second set 6-2 then losing the third set tiebreak 6-2. In the first set, Ruiz Pajares went down early 2-1, but captured five of the next six games to take the first set victory. In the next set, Ruiz Pajares won the first two games and looked well on her way to a victory, but she dropped six straight games to lose the second set. Alves used the momentum of her second set victory to propel her to a third set win and match victory.
With the Catamounts trailing 3-2 in the overall match, Megan McLinden defeated Lucia Leahy 4-6, 6-2, 6-4, to give WCU the needed point for a draw. McLinden fell behind early in the first set and was unable to comeback, dropping set number one to Leahy. The second set, McLinden and Leahy battled back and forth early, but McLinden strung together multiple games in a row to gain the 6-2 second set victory.
In the third set, both McLinden and Leahy battled back and forth until the very last game. Receiving serve and trailing 5-4 in the third set, Leahy took an early lead 30-0 in the tenth point. Still holding serve, McLinden battled back to get the point to deuce at 40-40. In front of her teammates and other supporters, McLinden gained advantage on the first deuce and didn't look back as she won the third set tiebreak, 6-4.
McLinden's victory helped the Catamounts gain the draw against Presbyterian College.
The Purple & Gold return to action on Sunday, February 23 at 1 p.m. as they host the UNC Asheville Bulldogs.
Western Carolina vs. Presbyterian Notes - This match is the first of four consecutive home matches for the Catamounts.
- The No. 6 singles match was originally going to be a walkover, but due to an injury prior to singles competition beginning, PC had to make lineup adjustments, thus removing their number six participant, leaving that match open.
- The draw is the first ever recorded in Western Carolina Women's Tennis history, dating back to the 1998-99 season.