#29 Wingate Faces #10 Francis Marion in NCAA first Rounder Sunday
Columbus, Ga.----The number 29 Wingate University women’s tennis team will make its second straight NCAA Division II Southeast Regional appearance Sunday (12 noon first serve) as they face the number 10 Francis Marion University Patriots at the Mary V. Blackmon Tennis Center. The match will be a re-match of the March 20 regular season contest, a 9-0 FMU victory in Florence, S.C. The Bulldogs are the number six seed, while the Patriots are the number three seed.
“We are looking forward to the re-match with Francis Marion,” Wingate head coach Michael Cabana says. “We were experiencing sickness (during the first match) and we didn’t play well as a result. We didn’t play the match with our current intensity.”
Wingate enters the tournament as the South Atlantic Conference regular season and tournament champion. Wingate earned the right to play in its 11th all-time NCAA regional tournament Saturday, April 21 with a 5-1 win over Lincoln Memorial in the Food Lion SAC Tournament final in Rock Hill.
The Bulldogs are led by sophomore Ali Evers (Roswell, Ga.) at the number one singles position. Evers went 11-9 in singles play and compiled a 14-8 mark in the top spot of doubles play, partnering with freshman Becca Thomas (Alpharetta, Ga.) in 20 of 22 matches. In her first season of singles play, Thomas went 17-5 at the number two flight.
Sophomore Olivia Poole (Boca Raton, Fla.) is Wingate’s number three singles player. Poole went 14-5 in singles play and partnered with freshman Tiffany Williams (Cary, N.C.) in the spring to record a 16-4 ledger in the number two doubles spot. Poole won doubles matches with Evers and junior Kelli Ferguson (Concord, N.C.) in the fall.
Food Lion SAC tournament MVP Morgan Winston (Lawrenceville, Ga.) went 16-4 in the fourth flight and posted an 11-4 mark in the third doubles flight with the combination of Ferguson and senior Samantha Alschlager (Indian Trail, N.C.). Ferguson went 15-2 in singles play and also recorded an 11-4 mark in doubles. Williams did not lose a SAC singles match in her first season, compiling a 15-3 mark primarily at the number six position.
“We didn’t play our current singles and doubles line-up on March 20,” Cabana says. “I think we have the opportunity to surprise Francis Marion. We are ready to play. I don’t think the result will be the same (Sunday).”
The winner of Sunday’s match will face the winner of the number two seed Columbus State/number seven seed Georgia College match on Monday at 2 p.m. Columbus State University is hosting one of two NCAA Division II Southeast Regional venues. Armstrong Atlantic State University is hosting the other four-team site in Savannah.