GREENEVILLE, Tenn. --- After sweeping their way to their first South Atlantic Conference regular-season championship since 2010, the Tusculum University women's tennis team will be the top seed and host Catawba College in a quarterfinal match on Tuesday at 2 p.m. at the Nichols Tennis Complex.
The Pioneers went 10-0 in conference matches for their first outright SAC Championship since 2009 and the sixth overall in program history. Tusculum has won four SAC Championship tournament titles, capturing the crown in 2004, 2008, 2014 and 2017. The Pioneers, ranked 16th in the most-recent ITA Division II rankings, are 15-2 overall and have won 12 consecutive matches, including a 7-0 win over Catawba on Saturday.
Catawba, which is the eighth seed in the field, was 12-8 during the regular season and tied for seventh place in the SAC at 4-6 with Anderson, which won the head-to-head tiebreaker by virtue of a 5-2 victory over the Indians on Wednesday.
The Pioneers won 49 of their 60 singles matches during the conference season, led by junior Annie McCullough who was 10-0 in SAC contests and 15-3 overall at flight one. Juniors Caitlin McCullough and Africa Mota each were 8-2 in league matches and junior Julia Lopez went 8-1 along with freshman Martina Marras. Freshman Emilie Hansen was 5-4 in conference matches for the Pioneers this season.
Tusculum was also dominant in doubles play, as the McCulloughs were 10-0 at flight one, Lopez and Mota teamed to go 8-2 at flight two and Hansen teamed with Brittani Brooks for a 7-2 mark at flight three.
Catawba's top singles player is Sophie Hirsch, who was 15-3 overall at flight two including an 8-2 record in conference matches. Una Pandurevic also had a winning record in SAC competition, going 6-4 in league play and 14-7 overall primarily at flight three.
The Indians are led in doubles by the team of Carolina Correia and Erisa Onchi, who were 10-4 at flight one and 4-3 in SAC matches. Hirsch and Pandurevic teamed up to go 5-3 at flight two in SAC competition and were 10-7 overall during the season.
Tuesday's winner will advance to Thursday's semifinals against the winner of the quarterfinal match between Carson-Newman and Lenoir-Rhyne. The semifinals will be played Thursday at 1 p.m. at the Rock Hill Tennis Center, which will host the championship match at noon on Friday.
South Atlantic Conference Women's Tennis Championship
Quarterfinals - Tuesday, April 16
No. 8 Catawba at No. 1 Tusculum, 2:00 p.m.
No. 5 Carson-Newman at No. 4 Lenoir-Rhyne, 2:00 p.m.
No. 7 Anderson at No. 2 Wingate, 2:00 p.m.
No. 6 Lincoln Memorial at No. 3 Queens, 10:00 a.m.
Semifinals - Thursday, April 18
Catawba/Tusculum winner vs. Carson-Newman/Lenoir-Rhyne winner, 1 p.m.
Anderson/Wingate winner vs. Lincoln Memorial/Queens winner, 1 p.m.
Finals - Friday, April 19
Semifinal winners, noon