ANDERSON, S.C. – After stepping away from the courts for 12 days, Anderson University women’s tennis jumps back into South Atlantic Conference action on Thursday when it welcomes Brevard to the Upstate. First serve from Max Grubbs Memorial Courts is slated for 2 p.m.
AU opened the month of March with two straight wins, beginning with an 8-1 triumph over conference opponent Mars Hill, followed by a nonconference shutout victory over in-state rival Converse on March 8. With the wins, Anderson looks to even up its overall record to 4-4 on Thursday, while currently holding an even 2-2 SAC record.
Despite her slowest start to a season of her career, senior Avery Owens has rattled off four straight singles victories, highlighted by her last two wins coming in straight sets. Teaming up with junior Karen Ching in doubles, the pair has won both its matches in March, capped off by a 9-7 win over Converse’s Claudia Gunn and Marisa Esformes at the No. 1 spot. Ching has also produced in the singles round, as she carries a 5-2 mark, while moving to No. 1 after beginning the season at the No. 2 slot.
Freshman Rebecca Bruning has captured three straight singles matches and improved her overall singles mark to 5-1 against the Valkyries. With the impressive start to her collegiate career, Bruning’s lone singles setback came against USC Aiken’s Julie Arruda, earlier this year, in three sets. Sophomore Alexandra Ebner is 5-2 in singles while playing the majority of the year at the No. 4 spot.
Also contributing in singles, newcomer Nikkola Wichenko has strung together four straight singles victories at the No. 6 position with all of her triumphs coming by straight sets. The Oakville, Ontario native has bounced back quickly after beginning the season with three straight losses.
Coming off a 5-12 record a year ago, Brevard was projected 11th in SAC Preseason Coaches’ Poll before the start of the 2014 season. Despite the ranking, senior Michelle Prata was named to the conference’s second team singles squad as the only Tornado to be named to the preseason honor.
This season, BC is 3-4 for the 2014 campaign, as it finished 3-0 for its Spring Break trip to Hilton Head with wins over Dalton State, College of Saint Rose and Northwestern College. Most recently, the Tornados dropped their first conference match of the season to Newberry, 8-1.
Posting Brevard’s lone victory against the Wolves was junior Katie Daugherty who continues to impress during the 2014 season. Daugherty posted a 6-1, 6-3 win over Newberry’s Susana Aguirre at the No. 1 spot, as she improved her singles record to 6-1 for the season. Despite the victory in the singles round, Daugherty and Prata suffered their first doubles loss of the season, falling to Aguirre and Romina Adum, 9-7 at No. 1. In singles action, Prata is 5-2 for the year.
Anderson is 2-1 against Brevard in its first three meetings as SAC foes. After dropping a 6-3 decision in 2011, the Trojans have captured two straight wins over the following two seasons, capped off by a 7-2 win in Brevard a season ago.