GREENEVILLE, Tenn. --- The Tusculum women's tennis team defeated Carson-Newman 5-0 in the quarterfinals of the South Atlantic Conference Championship tournament on Tuesday afternoon at the Nichols Tennis Complex.
The second-seeded Pioneers (20-1) advance to face third-seeded Queens in the semifinals on Friday at 9 a.m. at the Cayce Tennis Center in Columbia, South Carolina. The win enabled Tusculum to win 20 matches in a season for the fifth time in program history, and the first time in back-to-back years.
Tusculum claimed the first point of the match at flight two doubles, where Katarina Majorova and Franziska Funke teamed for an 8-1 victory over Ali Harris and Alisa Liashova. At flight three, Africa Mota and Amber Lackey beat Hannah Price and Mallory Jackson by an 8-2 score to give Tusculum a 2-0 lead.
At flight one, the Pioneers' 23rd-ranked team of Annie McCullough and Caitlin McCullough were taken to a tiebreaker by the Eagles' Jill Corsato and Abby Reis. Facing match point at 6-7, the McCulloughs won the final three points of the tiebreak for an 8-7 pro-set victory and a 3-0 Tusculum lead heading to singles.
In singles, Majorova extended Tusculum's lead to 4-0 with a 6-2, 6-0 win over Harris at flight one, then Mota clinched the match with a 6-0, 6-2 win over Jackson at flight six. The Pioneers had a one-set lead in three of the other four singles matches with the seventh-seeded Eagles (7-10) at the moment of clinching.
Friday's match against Queens will mark the fifth consecutive season that the Pioneers and Royals have played in the SAC semifinals. Tusculum won last year's meeting 5-1 after falling to Queens in both 2015 and 2016. The Pioneers also beat the Royals in 2014 en route to the SAC championship.
The other semifinal match between top-seeded Wingate and fourth-seeded Newberry will also be played at 9 a.m. on Friday, with the winners meeting at 9 a.m. Saturday for the SAC Championship.