BREVARD, N.C. – After playing matches for over four and a half hours, and Queens University tying the match at three, the two deciding matches of the 2015 South Atlantic Conference (SAC) Women's Tennis Championship Final came down to two matches ending within 30 seconds of each other to clinch the victory for Wingate University.
With Wingate (16-4) leading 2-1 after the first three doubles matches, the Royals (16-3) tied the overall match score at two with Carlotta Nassi (Livorno, Italy) defeating Andrea Ternera (Bogota, Columbia) of Wingate at No. 1 singles, 6-4-6-3. Becca Thomas (Alpharetta, Ga.) came back for the Bulldogs at No. 5 singles with a three-set win over Jackie Rock (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) in a three set thriller to put Wingate ahead 3-2 on the afternoon. Thomas trailed after losing the first set 6-1 to Rock before storming back to take the second set, 6-4. She won the third set 6-1, even though each point was won with long rallies.
Queens tied it at three at No. singles. Marta Gonzalez (Vigo, Spain) defeated Wingate's Oroma Womeodu (Memphis, Tenn.) in a three set match. Gonzalez won the first set 7-6 (7-3) in a very tight match before dropping the second set 6-4. She came back and won the third set 6-3.
No more than ten minutes later, two matches finished 30 seconds apart in favor of the Bulldogs to win the title.
Maria Garcia (San Carlos, Venezuela), who was named Tournament Most Valuable Player, led her match at No. 6 singles with a 6-0 first set win before dropping the second set 6-3 to Claire Hamilton (Charleston, W. Va.) of the Royals. With Garcia ahead 5-4, she won the her match to give Wingate a 4-3 lead before Caroline Holland (Spartanburg, S.C.) clinched the title for Wingate 30 seconds later at No. 2 singles.
Holland defeated Melissa Laing (Johannesburg, South Africa), after dropping the first set 6-3. She came back to tie the match at one set a piece with a 7-6 (7-4) tiebreak win in the second set before sealing the deal with a 6-2 win in the third set.
It was Wingate's fourth title in five years, winning it all in 2011, 2012, and 2013. Early on in the day, Queens picked up the first win of the afternoon at No. 3 doubles. Rock and Hamilton defeated Holland and Layla Tanik (Raleigh, N.C), 8-2. Wingate won the next two matches to take a 2-1 lead heading into singles action.
Thomas and Ternera defeated Nassi and Laing in a tough battled 8-4 win at No. 1 doubles before Womeodu and Garcia defeated Gonzalez and Nielson in a tight 8-6 victory at No. 2 doubles.
There was a rain delay at 2:27 p.m. that lasted about 18 minutes before play resumed. The Bulldogs now receives the SAC's automatic bid to the NCAA Division II Women's Tennis Championship that will take place at a time and date to be determined. The conference championship was hosted by Brevard College at the McCoy Tennis Complex.
1. Carlotta Nassi (QU) def. Andrea Ternera (WU) 6-4, 6-3
2. Caroline Holland (WU) def. Melissa Laing (QU) 3-6, 7-6 (7-4), 6-2
3. Marta Gonzalez (QU) def. Oroma Womeodu (WU) 7-6 (7-3), 4-6, 6-3
4. Layla Tanik (WU) vs. Caroline Nielson (QU) 4-6, 7-6 (7-4), 4-5, unfinished
5. Becca Thomas (WU) def. Jackie Rock (QU) 1-6, 6-4, 6-1
6. Maria Garcia (WU) def. Claire Hamilton (QU) 6-0, 3-6, 6-4
1. Andrea Ternera/Becca Thomas (WU) def. Carlotta Nassi/Melissa Laing (QU) 8-4
2. Oroma Womeodu/Maria Garcia (WU) def. Marta Gonzalez/Caroline Nielson (QU) 8-6
3. Jackie Rock/Claire Hamilton (QU) def. Caroline Holland/Layla Tanik (WU) 8-2