CHARLESTON, S.C. - Charleston Southern saw their season come to an end on Saturday afternoon at the Buccaneer Tennis Complex as the No. 1 Buccaneers fell to the No. 2 Winthrop Eagles in the 2014 Big South Conference Women's Tennis Championship match, 4-1.
Charleston Southern picked up their lone point of the afternoon in singles play as Marketa Placha, the 2014 Big South Conference Player of the Year, evened the score for CSU with a straight set win on court no. 1. The Czech Republic native defeated Alessandra Garcia in front of a packed crowd at the Buccaneer Tennis Complex, 6-4, 6-2, to put the Bucs on the scoreboard and tie the match up at 1-1.
However, Winthrop, in addition to their victory in doubles, added singles victories on courts 3, 5 and 6, with Beth Williamson's straight set win over Gabriela Srodowski clinching the match and the Eagles' seventh consecutive Big South Conference tournament title.
"My hat goes off to Winthrop; they played really well today," commented CSU head coach Mike Baker. "We were expecting to win today and they fought really hard. My team played well also, but they just won the match from us."
Charleston Southern started off strong in the match as Nicolin Luecke and Marketa Placha topped Beth Williamson and Tijana Uzelac on court no. 3, 8-2. Winthrop evened the match on court no. 1 as the Eagles duo of Alessandra Garcia and Alice Garcia topped Yvonne Hubler and Alexandra Walters, 8-5.
In singles action, following Placha's win on court no. 1, Cridland swung the advantage back over to the Eagles on court no. 3, topping Walters in straight sets 6-4, 6-0 to push Winthrop ahead 2-1. Gunaysu finished shortly after on court no. 5, topping Cooper on court no. 5, 6-0, 6-4 to push the Eagles within one point of clinching the match.
With play on courts no. 2 and 4 between Hubler/Alice Garcia and Luecke-Uzelac in the midst of third set, Williamson clinched the victory for the Eagles on court no. 6, setting off the Winthrop celebration on the courts and ending the match.
"Today we lost the match, but it was a learning experience," Baker added at the end of the match. "The girls are pumped up for next year. We had a great team this year; we're going to have a great team next year and expect to be back here. We're looking forward to it. I'm proud of how we did this year with our record, our ranking and all of the accolades we got. We're really pumped about next year."
The Bucs, ranked No. 72 in the latest ITATennis.com team poll, finish up the 2014 season with a 17-4 overall record on the season, topping their previous high of 16 wins set back in the 2011-2012 season. Charleston Southern's 9-0 record in the Big South Conference play also set a new program high in topping last season's eight wins in conference action.
The Buccaneers starting lineup boasted a school-record three All-Conference singles selections, three Big South singles flight champions, the top doubles flight champion in the Big South, the Big South Player of the Year and the Big South Coach of the Year, capping off the best season in Charleston Southern women's tennis program history.
#62 Winthrop 4, #72 Charleston Southern 1
Apr 26, 2014 at Charleston, S.C. (Buccaneer Tennis Complex)
1. Marketa Placha (CSU) def. GARCIA, Andressa (WU) 6-4, 6-2
2. Yvonne Hubler (CSU) vs. GARCIA, Alice (WU) 6-4, 1-6, 1-4, unfinished
3. CRIDLAND, Caitlin (WU) def. Alexandra Walters (CSU) 6-4, 6-0
4. Nicolin Luecke (CSU) vs. UZELAC, Tijana (WU) 6-1, 6-7, 1-0, unfinished
5. GUNAYSU, Ekin (WU) def. Mi'Kola Cooper (CSU) 6-0, 6-4
6. WILLIAMSON, Beth (WU) def. Gabriela Srodowski (CSU) 6-3, 7-5
1. GARCIA, Alice/GARCIA, Andressa (WU) def. Yvonne Hubler/Alexandra Walters (CSU) 8-5
2. CRIDLAND, Caitlin/GUNAYSU, Ekin (WU) def. Alia Nour/Mi'Kola Cooper (CSU) 8-4
3. Nicolin Luecke/Marketa Placha (CSU) def. WILLIAMSON, Beth/UZELAC, Tijana (WU) 8-2
Winthrop 18-4; National ranking #62
Charleston Southern 17-4; National ranking #72
Order of finish: Doubles (3,1,2); Singles (1,3,5,6)
Big South Conference Championship
Winthrop wins the 2014 Big South Conference Championship
Eagles receive the Big South's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament