GREENSBORO, N.C. - The No. 61st-ranked College of Charleston women's tennis team had its impressive Southern Conference regular-season win streak ended at 29 consecutive matches by UNCG, who bested the three-time defending league champions, 5-2, on Saturday afternoon at the UNCG Tennis Courts.
It marked the Spartans' (14-4, 8-0 SoCon) first win over the Cougars (18-5, 7-1 SoCon) since 1999 to take over first-place honors in the latest league standings. CofC previously went an undefeated 10-0 in both the 2009-10 and 2010-11 campaigns and had won 36 consecutive matches overall including SoCon Tournament matches.
UNCG won the doubles point to gain momentum and take the early 1-0 advantage in the high-stakes match. Sophomore Kelly Kambourelis (Melbourne, Fla.) and freshman Jenny Falcone (Davidson, N.C.) won a 7-3 pro-set tiebreaker over Devon Sutherland and Alex Whitehead at No. 2 doubles, but it wasn't enough to earn the opening point for the Cougars.
"Although we have not lost to UNCG since 1999, it hasn't been without many close matches over the years," CofC Director of Tennis Angelo Anastopoulo said. "They are a great team. We have just been on the lucky end of a lot of 4-3 victories in the past. Kelly and Jenny had a great day and put us in a good position to win the doubles point."
With the Cougars down 3-0 in the match, Kambourelis put the first tally on the scoreboard with a 6-3, 6-3 straight-set victory over Whitehead at No. 2 singles. She is currently on a three-match win streak and remains a perfect 7-0 against league opponents.
UNCG's Nitooli Wilkins would later clinch the victory and end the Spartans' 17-match losing skid in the all-time series with a 6-3, 6-1 decision over junior Christin Newman (Greensboro, N.C.) at the top of the lineup. Falcone won in straight sets over Lucy Dougherty, including a love second set, at the No. 5 line.
"Greensboro played really well today and earned the victory," Anastopoulo said. "They carried the doubles momentum right into singles, fought a lot harder than us today and it showed in the outcome. We definitely were not at our best this weekend and I'm sure, with extra hard work, the team will be back and ready in a week or two."
CofC will take a break from conference play to play host to its final non-conference opponent of the regular season in Louisiana-Lafayette on Monday, April 9 at 1:30 p.m. (ET) at the CofC Tennis Center at Patriots Point in Mt. Pleasant, S.C. The doubles point against the Ragin' Cajuns will be available via a pay-per-view live video stream on the Charleston Sports Network at www.CofCSports.com.
"I believe our team peaked too soon beginning with our upset of (No. 44-ranked) Oklahoma," Anastopoulo said. "Now, we will take time to sit back and evaluate a few things and try to take a break from conference action as we welcome former CofC assistant coach Greg Harkins and his Louisiana-Lafayette team and try to figure a few things out in that match to prepare for Southern Conference action again."
UNCG 5, (61) COLLEGE OF CHARLESTON 2
April 7, 2012
UNCG Tennis Courts
at Greensboro, N.C.
No. 1 - Niltooli Wilkins (UNCG) def. Christin Newman (CofC), 6-3, 6-1.
No. 2 - Kelly Kambourelis (CofC) def. Alex Whitehead (UNCG), 6-3, 6-3.
No. 3 - Dilara Yurtkuran (UNCG) def. Caroline Newman (CofC), 3-6, 7-6 (4), 1-0 (6).
No. 4 - Annette Rios (UNCG) def. Samantha Maddox (CofC), 6-3, 6-1.
No. 5 - Jenny Falcone (CofC) def. Lucy Dougherty (UNCG), 7-6 (5), 6-0.
No. 6 - Stephanie Falcon (UNCG) def. Katie Lee (CofC), 6-2, 6-3.
No. 1 - Lucy Dougherty-Niltooli Wilkins (UNCG) def. Jamie Harrell-Irene Viana (CofC), 8-3.
No. 2 - Jenny Falcone-Kelly Kambourelis (CofC) def. Devon Sutherland-Alex Whitehead (UNCG), 9-8 (3).
No. 3 - Kayla Gammie-Annette Rios (UNCG) def. Caroline Newman-Christin Newman (CofC), 9-7.
ORDER OF FINISH
Doubles: 1, 2, 3
Singles: 4, 6, 2, 1*, 5, 3