Pioneers 17th in ITA poll ahead of NCAA Tournament

Pioneers 17th in ITA poll ahead of NCAA Tournament

TEMPE, Ariz. --- The Tusculum women's tennis team is ranked 17th in this week's Oracle/Intercollegiate Tennis Association Division II National Team Rankings, which were released on Wednesday.

The Pioneers (20-2) dropped one spot from 16th in last week's rankings, but remain in the top 20 for the sixth consecutive week. Tusculum went 1-1 in action last week, defeating Carson-Newman 5-0 in the South Atlantic Conference quarterfinals on Tuesday before falling 5-2 to Queens in the SAC semifinals on Friday.

Tusculum learned Tuesday night that it had earned a berth in the NCAA Division II Women's Tennis Championship and would face Queens (16-3) for the third time this season in the opening round of the Southeast Region on Saturday at 9 a.m. in Columbus, Georgia. The winner of the match between the fourth-seeded Royals and fifth-seeded Pioneers will play the top-seeded hosts from Columbus State (22-2) on Sunday at 1 p.m.

The Pioneers are 5-2 against teams in this week's ITA Division II rankings, owning victories over Queens (5-4 on April 8), 27th-ranked North Georgia (7-2 on Feb. 17), 32nd-ranked Bellarmine (9-0 on March 4), 35th-ranked Young Harris (6-3 on March 16) and 41st-ranked Newberry (8-1 on April 14). In addition to the loss to Queens in the SAC Tournament, the Pioneers' other loss came at 15th-ranked Wingate on April 9.

Also ranked this week by the ITA are sophomore Katarina Majorova, who is 55th in singles, along with the doubles team of sophomores Annie McCullough and Caitlin McCullough, which is ranked 36th.

Majorova climbed 13 positions after winning both of her matches last week, including a straight-set victory against 53rd-ranked Carlotta Nassi of Queens in the SAC semifinals. Majorova, a first-team All-SAC performer in both singles and doubles, carries a dual-match record of 15-2 into the NCAA Championship.

The McCulloughs slipped six spots in this week's rankings after splitting their two contests in the SAC Tournament. On Tuesday, the duo defeated Jill Corsato and Abby Reis of Carson-Newman 8-7 (9-7 tiebreaker) in the SAC quarterfinals, before losing 8-7 to the Queens duo of Yana Fleyer and Sasha Davidzenka, which is ranked 33rd in this week's ITA survey. The McCulloughs are 17-4 overall, with all four of their losses coming to ranked opponents.