CULLOWHEE, N.C. - The Western Carolina women's tennis team opened its 2016 fall season this past weekend by hosting the WNC Mountain Challenge. The Catamounts captured two of the eight individual titles and two of the four doubles flights. Freshman Jordan Strickland won the Purple 5 flight while sophomore Gaby Hurt took the Purple 7 flight. Both finished with 2-1 records in singles action.
Sophomores Savannah Taranto and Alexa Webb teamed up to take the Gold 1 doubles flight with a perfect 3-0 record while junior Elizabeth Ansari and freshman Madison Riley took the Gold 4 doubles flight as they went 3-0 as well.
"I thought we had a great start to our year at our home tournament this weekend," said head coach Michaela Kissell-Eddins. "Our team had a lot of energy and competed hard in each match we played. Overall to come away winning two doubles draws and two singles draws is a really good start for us and with each draw being so evenly matched our girls had to work very hard to achieve those accomplishments. I was especially very proud with the poise our freshmen showed on court throughout the tournament. I know they were nervous to compete in their first college event but they all really played terrific tennis and came away with quality wins and both a singles and doubles title on top of that. All of us are excited to keep improving each day and look forward to our next tournament at USC Upstate."
All eight Catamounts were in action and picked up at least one victory in singles action with four winning two.
The event was a round-robin style tournament with eight singles flights and four doubles flights. Each competitor competed in three matches in singles and three in doubles over the two day event.
Strickland began her title run with a 6-4, 6-3 loss to UNC Asheville's Hunter Hall on Saturday she then came back on Sunday and won two-straight singles matches to win the flight. She began with a 6-1, 7-6 (0) victory over USC Upstate's Morgan Dodd. The flight title would come down to the final match as Strickland entered with a 1-1 record and Kennesaw State's Alexandra Mercado carried a perfect 2-0 record into the match. Strickland pulled off the 6-3, 3-6, 10-8 victory to tie Mercado with a 2-1 record but took the title due to the head-to-head victory.
Hurt also opened her title run with a defeat as she fell to Sarah Parker of USC Upstate 2-6, 7-6 (4), 10-6 on Saturday. She then picked up two wins on Sunday including a 6-1, 7-6 (0) victory over Anna Nemeth of USC Upstate and a 6-4, 6-4 win over KSU's Elle Baker.
Taranto and Webb opened up Saturday with a pair of doubles victories over teams from USC Upstate and Kennesaw State. They won their first match 6-2 before taking the second match 6-3. The duo clinched the title with a 6-2 victory over the duo from UNC Asheville.
Ansari and Riley had a similar path to the title as the duo won a pair of 6-1 matches on Saturday over teams from UNCU and KSU. The title clincher came against UNC in a 6-3 win.
Ansari and Riley also finished with 2-1 records in singles action this past weekend but finished second in their respective flights.
The Catamounts will return to action Sept. 16-18 at the USC Upstate Fall Classic.