Pioneers with strong showing at Western Carolina Invitational

Pioneers with strong showing at Western Carolina Invitational

CULLOWHEE, N.C. --- The Tusculum women's tennis team competed at the Western Carolina Invitational this weekend, winning three flight championships during the two-day event.

The Pioneers claimed three flight championships in competition against the host Catamounts, Lipscomb, Presbyterian and Young Harris, as Annie McCullough won the flight two singles and teamed with sister Caitlin McCullough to win flight two doubles. Also in doubles, the team of Franziska Funke and Katarina Majorova went undefeated to earn the flight one championship.

Annie McCullough went undefeated in the tournament, winning her first singles match on Saturday by a score of 6-1, 7-5 over Alexa Webb of Western Carolina followed by a 6-1, 6-4 win over Madeleine Brooks of Lipscomb. On Sunday, McCullough faced her third Division I opponent of the weekend in Beth Taylor of Presbyterian and earned a 6-1, 6-4 victory to claim the flight title.

In doubles, the McCulloughs beat Ana Rodriguez and Oriana Labaqui of Young Harris 6-2 in their tournament opener on Saturday, and came back Sunday with wins over Western Carolina's Savannah Taranto and Webb by a 6-1 score, followed by a 6-2 win over Brooks and Thabile Tshatedi of Lipscomb to wrap up the flight championship.

Funke and Majorova earned a 6-2 win over Demi Henschel and Tracy Johnson of Presbyterian in their first match on Saturday, with wins on Sunday over Lauren McCall and Jordan Strickland of Western Carolina (6-1), and Denise Buberl and Kateryna Popova of Lipscomb (6-4).

Funke and Caitlin McCullough each went 2-1 in their singles flights to finish as runner-up, while the doubles teams of Amber Lackey and Brittani Brooks won two of three matches in their flights and placed second via tiebreaker. The duo of Africa Mota and Javiera Ortiz also had a victory during the tournament.

Funke picked up singles wins over Tshatedi of Lipscomb (6-4, 6-1) and Labaqui of Young Harris (7-5, 6-1) while McCullough needed two tiebreakers to put away Strickland of Western Carolina by identical 7-6 (7-5) set scores on Saturday, then outlasted Elin Rundcrantz of Young Harris in a 10-5 tiebreaker on Sunday after splitting the first two sets 6-7 (5-7), 6-1.

Three other players also earned singles wins for the Pioneers in their respective flights of the tournament. Lackey defeated Rodriguez of Young Harris 4-6, 6-4, (10-3), Mota downed Ella Rowley of Presbyterian 7-6 (7-2), 6-0, and Ortiz bested Carli Deehr of Western Carolina in yet another tiebreaker by scores of 5-7, 6-3, (10-5).

In doubles action, Lackey and Brooks won 6-0 over Young Harris' Maria Puerta and Laura Sanchez and earned a 7-5 victory over Samantha Calais and Taylor of Presbyterian. Mota and Ortiz picked up their victory in their final match against Katie Thompson and Rowley of Presbyterian by a score of 7-6 (10-8).

The Pioneers will play their second of three fall matches on Wednesday at 2 p.m. at Emmanuel.