KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - The College of Charleston (21-8) Women's Tennis season came to an end on Saturday afternoon in a tough 4-1 loss to No. 13 seed Tennessee (20-7). The Cougars fell in the opening round of the 2011 Women's Tennis Championship hosted by Tennessee at Barksdale Stadium.
CofC Head Coach Angelo Anastopoulo said he was proud of how his team battled during the match.
"I couldn't have asked more from this team," he said. They played hard against the SEC runner-up Lady Vols. It was a great tennis match in which Tennessee was a little too tough in the end."
In the doubles portion of the competition, junior Katie Lee and senior Kinsey Casey fought the entire way, but had their match stopped at 7-3 after the Cougars lost the other two matches 8-0 and 8-2.
In singles sophomore Christin Newman went head-to-head again #40 Natalie Pluskota from Tennessee and hung with her the entire way before narrowly dropping the first set 7-5. The match would be unfinished and end 7-5, 4-4.
"Christin took everything she learned from this season and poured it into this match," Anastopoulo said. "She gave two-time All-American Natalie Pluskota everything she could handle. Her maturity on the court was incredible."
Senior Emma Hayman fell 6-1 in her first set, but roared back to win a tiebreaker 6-7 (3-7) to extend her match to a third set, which also went unfinished 3-1.
"Our three seniors really exceeded my expectations today and will be sorely missed," Anastopoulo said. "I will be forever indebted to the championship mentality that they brought to the team."
Also in competition for the Cougars in singles were junior Caroline Newman, Casey, Lee and senior Keely Mulligan.
The Cougars wrap up a season in which they won both the Southern Conference regular season and tournament championships. CofC went a perfect 10-0 in conference play and came into the match vs. Tennessee riding a 14-match winning streak. The Cougars were also one of just 17 schools in the 64-team tournament field with at least 20 wins.
The Cougars had over 30 fans in attendance including Tank Barnette, CofC class of 1958 and Tony Meyer class of 1949 as well as tennis alumni Laura Borza and Anna Lee Evans.
"As a coaching staff we are getting better at preparing our team for the NCAA Championships as evident in this very close match today," Anastopoulo said. "We look forward to having our recruits join our team next year to go along with our seven returning players and hope to defend our Southern Conference Championship and go further in the NCAA Tournament."
Stay tuned to CofCSports.com for photo gallery and video from the trip.