CHARLESTON, S.C. - Saturday afternoon will be the toughest matchup to date this season for Charleston Southern women's tennis as the Buccaneers welcome the visiting Winthrop Eagles to the Buccaneer Tennis Complex for a Big South Conference match. First serve between the two teams on CSU's Senior Day is set for 1 p.m.
MATCH DAY MOVED: The match between Charleston Southern and Winthrop was originally scheduled for Friday at 2 p.m. at the Buccaneer Tennis Complex. Due to expected wind conditions, the match was moved to Saturday.
The match pits the final two undefeated teams in the Big South Conference against each other following Winthrop's 5-2 win over Liberty on Saturday. The Bucs (5-0) and the Eagles (8-0) are in a familiar position facing off against each other with the two teams combining to win the last 15 conference regular season championships.
CSU (12-1) rides a 12 match winning streak coming into Friday afternoon's match following a tough 4-3 victory over the No. 1 team in the NCAA Division III rankings, Emory. CSU has won 11 matches in a row at the Buccaneer Tennis Complex dating back to last season. The Bucs were victories in their last home match against the Eagles back in 2015 with CSU winning 4-3, over Winthrop on March 7.
The Eagles (16-4) enter the match on a four-match winning streak following a 6-1 loss to ACC power North Carolina State. During their current streak, Winthrop topped UNC Asheville, UNC Wilmington, Campbell, and Liberty. The Eagles' 5-2 win over UNCW is significant as the Seahawks are the lone team to hand the Buccaneers a loss this season with CSU falling on the road, 5-2, in the 2017 opener.
The Bucs' win over Emory on Sunday afternoon at the Tennis Complex came in part due to strong singles wins by Sophie Cloessner, Kimberley Koerner, and Kristen Farmer, as well as the doubles point with victories on courts 1 and 3. Cloessner's straight set win on court no. 2 gave the Bucs the early 2-0 lead, while strong three-set wins by Farmer (court 6) and Koerner (court 3) propelled CSU to their 12th consecutive victory.
Winthrop earned the doubles point with wins on courts 2 and 3 in their Saturday win over the visiting Liberty Flames. The Eagles took the singles points on each of the top four courts in securing the win in Rock Hill.
The Charleston Southern lineup boasts three singles players who have achieved double-digit wins this season paced by Koerner's perfect 13-0 record this season. Koerner has gone 10-0 on court no. 4 and also posted wins on courts 3 and 5 this season during her streak.
The Bucs' singles lineup has posted an impressive 26-4 mark overall in Big South Conference play on the season with both Koerner (5-0) and Valeria Koussenkova (5-0) both remaining undefeated in conference competition on the season.
CSU's top doubles tandem of Cloessner and Nicolin Luecke has gone 9-4 in competition on the season. Mi'Kola Cooper and Koussenkova are 6-1 on court no. 2, while Koerner and Morar are 4-1 on court no. 3.
All six Winthrop singles players have posted double-digit wins seasons paced by Lauren Proctor atop the Eagles' lineup. Proctor is 18-2 on the season on court no. 1, while Alisa Soloveva is 15-5 on court no. 2. Four Winthrop players are also 7-0 in singles play in conference matches this season.
The doubles tandem of Megan Kauffman and Proctor are 13-7 overall on the season on court no. 1, while Soloveva and Caitlin Cridland are a perfect 7-0 in conference play and 15-5 on the season on court no. 2.
Luecke has posted a career record 40-24, 19-9 in singles play, and 53-12, 26-4 in doubles play over her four seasons at CSU. The Herne, Germany native is the reigning Big South Women's Tennis Scholar-Athlete of the Year and is a three-time All-Conference honors recipient. She was the 2014 Big South Women's Tennis Flight No. 4 Champion and was a three-time Big South Freshman of the Week in her first year at CSU.
Cooper has posted a career record 28-13 in singles play with a 16-6 record in conference action. In doubles play, she is also 28-13 with a 13-4 record in conference. The Charleston, S.C. native was the 2015 Big South Singles Flight No. 4 Champion and was an All-Conference doubles recipient that season.
Valeria Koussenkova has shined in the CSU lineup since joining the Bucs in 2015. She enters the weekend with a 34-8 overall record in singles play with a 17-1 mark in conference competition. In doubles, she is 20-7 with an 11-2 mark in conference play. Koussenkova was the 2015 Big South Singles Flight No. 6 Champion and posted a team-high 15 singles wins just one season ago to lead the Bucs.