FORT MYERS, Fla. – After losing three seniors, all in the top 10 in school history in career wins, it may be hard to believe, but the USC Upstate women’s tennis team stands alone in first place in the Atlantic Sun Conference for the first time this year, having secured a 6-1 win on Friday over Florida Gulf Coast to improve to a perfect 8-0 in league play. Coupled with ETSU’s 4-3 loss at Stetson on Friday afternoon, Upstate is now alone in first place in the A-Sun, a match in front of both 7-1 Stetson and ETSU.
The Spartans will be back in action on Saturday at 2 p.m. when they face Stetson, which will enter the match looking for a piece of first, having accumulated an impressive 12-5 overall record and a 7-1 A-Sun ledger. A Spartan win would assure them off at least a piece of the A-Sun regular-season crown for the second year in a row.
Upstate (13-2 overall, 8-0 A-Sun) wasted little time winning the doubles point, as it swept all three matches against FGCU (6-13 overall, 3-4 A-Sun). Senior Daniela Lovera and freshman Ana-Sofia Camberos posted an 8-2 win at No. 3 over Leah Johnson and Joanne Power before senior Anna Novo and sophomore Emilia Milovanovic posted an 8-4 win over Eva Sambrano and Priscilla Villemond at No. 1 to clinch the point. Junior Carolina Bello and freshman Cinthya Lazaro added an 8-4 win at No. 2 over Maggie Caulk and Jen Evans.
Upstate continued to roll in singles play as Milovanovic posted a 6-2, 6-0 win over Evans at No. 3 singles. Novo became the first player in school history to win 25 singles matches twice in a career as she notched a 6-2, 6-1 win over Villemond at No. 1 and Lovera clinched the match with a 6-3, 6-0 win over Johnson at No. 4. Camberos added a 6-2, 6-1 win over Brittany Wadsworth at No. 6 before a retirement at No.2 gave FGCU their lone win. Lazaro capped the match with a 6-4, 7-6 win at No. 5 over Power.
USC Upstate 6, Florida Gulf Coast 1
1. Anna Novo (UPST) def. Priscillia Villemond (FGCU) 6-2, 6-1
2. Eva Sambrano (FGCU) def. Carolina Bello (UPST) 6-4, 4-4, retired
3. Emilia Milovanovic (UPST) def. Jen Evans (FGCU) 6-2, 6-0
4. Daniela Lovera (UPST) def. Leah Johnson (FGCU) 6-3, 6-0
5. Cinthya Lazaro (UPST) def. Joanne Power (FGCU) 6-4, 7-6
6. Ana-Sofia Camberos (UPST) def. Brittany Wadsworth (FGCU) 6-2, 6-1
1. Anna Novo/Emilia Milovanovic (UPST) def. Eva Sambrano/Priscillia Villemond (FGCU) 8-4
2. Carolina Bello/Cinthya Lazaro (UPST) def. Maggie Caulk/Jen Evans (FGCU) 8-4
3. Daniela Lovera/Ana-Sofia Camberos (UPST) def. Leah Johnson/Joanne Power (FGCU) 8-2
USC Upstate 13-2, 8-0 A-Sun
Florida Gulf Coast 6-13, 3-4 A-Sun
Order of finish: Doubles (3,1,2); Singles (3,1,4,6,2,5)