CULLOWHEE, N.C. -The Southern Conference has not been kind to Western Carolina over the years, WCU (12-11, 0-7 SoCon) fell 4-0 to top seed Furman (15-8, 7-0 SoCon) in the first round.
" I'm proud of the way we competed today down the lineup," said assistant coach Jacob Eddins. "We had so many duece points across the board but Furman stepped up at the right times."
The tandem of sophomore Elizabeth Ansari and senior Nicole Nielly dropped the No. 3 flight to Karlee Byrde and Harper Caswell 6-1. The Paladins clinched the doubles point when the senior team of Stacia Kissell and Shannon Bettiol fell 6-3 to Ansley Speaks and Katarina Weymouth at No. 1.
The Paladins went ahead 3-0 when No.5 singles Ansari lost 6-3, 6-1 to Rodriguez in straight sets, and Taranto dropped the No. 4 flight 6-0, 7-5 to Byrde.
The clinching point came at No. 3 when Bettiol fell to Martin 6-2, 6-4 to end the Catamounts record breaking season.
With the overall match clinched, the No. 2 contest was stopped as WCU's McLinden was trailing Weymouth in the second set, 5-1, after dropping the first set 6-4. No. 1 was stopped with Kissell even with Speaks, 2-2, after falling 7-5.
Freshman Alexa Webb at No. 6 was even with Caswell, 5-5 in the second set after losing the first 6-2, was also stopped with the match clinched.
" They played a great match so hats off to them. It's always tough to end your season but I am especially proud of what this team has accomplished this year," stated Eddins. "We look forward to continue building off this season's success for years to come."
The Purple & Gold finished the 2016 campaign 12-11, going winless in Southern Conference play. The five seniors on this team helped propel the team to a program best 12 wins and has become the new standard for the upcoming teams.