Pioneers eliminated by Queens 5-2 in SAC semifinals

Pioneers eliminated by Queens 5-2 in SAC semifinals

COLUMBIA, S.C. --- A sweep of doubles sparked Queens to a 5-2 victory over Tusculum in the semifinals of the South Atlantic Conference Women's Tennis Championship tournament Friday morning at the Cayce Tennis Center.

The third-seeded Royals (15-3) will face top-seeded Wingate for the championship on Saturday after defeating the defending SAC tournament champion Pioneers (20-2), who were seeded second in the field. Queens avenged a 5-1 loss to Tusculum in last year's semifinal round, along with a 5-4 loss to the Pioneers in the teams' regular-season meeting on April 8.

The Royals' number-three doubles team of Caroline Nielsen and Hannah Lehfeldt picked up the first point with an 8-5 win over Africa Mota and Amber Lackey, followed by an 8-6 win at flight two by Carlotta Nassi and Isabel Fornies over the Pioneers' Katarina Majorova and Franziska Funke. At flight one, the Royals finished off the sweep as Yana Fleyer and Sasha Davidzenka went to a tiebreaker before beating Annie McCullough and Caitlin McCullough by an 8-7 score.

Queens extended its lead to 4-0 as Fornies defeated Angelica De Vincenzis 6-4, 6-3 at number-five singles, but Tusculum began a comeback as Majorova downed Nassi 6-2, 6-3 at flight one and Caitlin McCullough won 6-1, 6-2 over Nielsen at flight four. However, Fleyer won 6-2, 6-4 over Funke at flight two to clinch the match in favor of the Royals.

The Pioneers, who began the week ranked third in the NCAA Division II Southeast Region, will learn Tuesday night at 8:30 p.m. if they have been selected to make a second straight appearence in the NCAA Division II Women's Tennis Championship and the ninth in program history.