McCulloughs to compete at ITA Cup

McCulloughs to compete at ITA Cup

GREENEVILLE, Tenn. --- Tusculum University seniors Annie McCullough and Caitlin McCullough have been selected to participate in the 2019 ITA Cup, which will be hosted by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association at the Rome Tennis Center in Rome, Georgia starting Thursday and continuing through Sunday.

The McCulloughs qualified for the tournament in doubles after finishing as the runner-up at the ITA Southeast Regional tournament at the end of September, and then earning the invitation after the championship doubles team declined to participate. Annie McCullough earned an at-large selection in the singles field after advancing to the Southeast Region semifinals and being chosen from the pool of regional quarterfinalists.

Annie and Caitlin McCullough are playing doubles together for the third year at Tusculum, and have a 7-2 record this season and 51-11 for their career. Last season, the duo was 26-4 overall and 19-3 in dual matches, finishing the season ranked 14th nationally in Division II by the ITA and second in the Southeast Region.

The Belfast, Northern Ireland natives will play their first match on Thursday at 1:30 p.m. against Ashley Penshorn and Marina Vigil from St. Mary's (Texas), who won the ITA South Central regional championship. The McCulloughs will then play at 5 p.m. Thursday against either top-seeded Ulyana Grib and Valeriya Pogrebnyak of Lynn or Diana Cabrera and Constanco Crespo of Southwest Baptist.

Annie McCullough has compiled an 8-2 singles record this season and has a four-year record of 89-14 for the Pioneers, which includes a 56-8 record in dual matches, a 33-6 mark in tournaments and a 28-2 record in South Atlantic Conference matches. She will play Kierstin Hensley of West Virginia State in the opening round Thursday at 9 a.m., followed by a match with either fourth-seeded Berta Bonardi of West Florida or Kate Daugherty of Dallas Baptist. Bonardi, the defending ITA Cup champion, finished the 2018-19 season as the top-ranked player in singles in Division II by the ITA.

The ITA Cup features the top players from four divisions of collegiate tennis (Division II, Division III, NAIA, JUCO), and the winners will be automatically entered in the Oracle ITA National Fall Championships, which takes place at the Newport Beach Tennis Club & The Tennis Club at Newport Beach Country Club in Newport Beach, California from November 6 to 10. The men's and women's doubles draws will compete down to one overall ITA Cup champion spanning all four divisions, which will also advance to their respective National Fall Championships.

All competitors in both singles and doubles are guaranteed at least three matches, with the doubles finals for each division on Saturday and the singles finals and ITA Cup Doubles finals on Sunday.

Information on the tournament, including links to the draws and live video, can be found here.