Pioneers fall to top-seeded Columbus State in NCAA second round

Pioneers fall to top-seeded Columbus State in NCAA second round

COLUMBUS, Ga. --- Top-seeded Columbus State defeated Tusculum 5-0 in the second round of the NCAA Division II Southeast Regional Sunday afternoon at the John W. Walden Tennis Center.

The fourth-ranked Cougars (23-2) advanced for the seventh straight season to the Division II quarterfinals, which will begin May 8 in Surprise, Arizona. The Pioneers, who were seeded fifth in the region and ranked 17th in the latest ITA Division II poll, finished the season with a record of 21-3.

The Cougars swept doubles to open the match, starting with an 8-0 win at flight three by Marleen Tilgner and Giorgia Vitale over the Pioneers' Amber Lackey and Brittani Brooks. At flight two, Noa Davico and Beatriz Lopez defeated Annie McCullough and Caitlin McCullough by an 8-3 score, and at flight one the team of Candice Paya and Natalia Kattah Paz won 8-6 over Franziska Funke and Katarina Majorova.

Columbus State increased its lead to 4-0 as Luise Sachs defeated Julia Lopez 6-2, 6-2 at flight six, and Lopez clinched the match at flight one with a 6-0, 6-2 win over Majorova. Columbus State was up a set in two of the remaining four matches when the Cougars earned the clinching point, with Caitlin McCullough up a set at flight four for the Pioneers and Funke ahead in the first set at flight two.

Tusculum's 21 victories this season was one shy of the program single-season record of 22 wins set in 2014. The Pioneers' 5-2 win over Queens in Saturday's first-round match was Tusculum's second all-time victory in the NCAA Tournament.