GREENVILLE, S.C. - The Western Carolina women’s tennis team traveled to the site of the 2017 Southern Conference Championship Wednesday afternoon to take on the Paladins of Furman University in both teams final regular season SoCon match of the year. The Catamounts fell to the Paladins 7-0 but will be back to Greenville in just over a week to compete for the 2017 tournament crown.
"Today we were able to see the best of the best in conference and they proved why they are the regular season champions,” said head coach Michaela Kissell-Eddins. “Again we came out and played really well in doubles and had chances to win on both courts. I thought Savannah (Taranto) and Madison (Riley) played great considering it was their first time playing together and they were playing the best doubles team in our conference. They played really aggressive at the net and gave themselves a chance to win the match. Lauren (McCall) and Jordan (Strickland) also played a tough match and have had one heck of a run in SoCon doubles this year. To only lose one conference match together has been a great effort and I'm excited to see them all keep improving their doubles games.
WCU played the match with a lineup of just five which caused the Catamounts to forfeit the No. 6 singles and No. 3 doubles matches giving Furman an early 1-0 lead.
Sophomore Savannah Taranto and freshman Madison Riley played at No. 1 doubles and fell 6-4 to the Paladin duo. The WCU single season doubles record holders Lauren McCall and Jordan Strickland also dropped their match 6-4 at No. 2.
“Singles we just weren't at their same level yet but we are determined we can get there eventually,” continued Kissell-Eddins. “This year has really been all about the process and making sure everyone on the team is committed to putting in the mental and physical effort it takes to be a great athlete. I believe we have shown a lot of potential this year and have made strides in conference to be more competitive at every position of doubles and singles. Whether or not we take it to the next level will depend on how much the girls want it and how hard they are willing to work for it."
Leading 2-0, Furman would cruise in singles play with the two closest matches happening at No. 1 and No. 5 as Strickland and McCall each fell 6-2, 6-1. The Paladins would sweep at No. 2 and No. 4 winning 6-0, 6-0 while the No. 3 match went 6-1, 6-1.
The loss drops WCU’s record to 11-12 overall and 0-7 in SoCon play. The Paladins improved to 20-5 on the season and a perfect 7-0 conference sweep.
WCU will close out the regular season Friday, April 14 as the Catamounts host Southern Wesleyan at 10 am and Tusculum at 4 pm.