ANDERSON, S.C. – Despite suffering three setbacks in its last four contests, Anderson University women’s tennis shifts its focus to the postseason, as it begins play in the Food Lion South Atlantic Conference Tournament on Wednesday against fourth-seeded Newberry. First serve from the Rock Hill Tennis Center is slated for 10 a.m.
After a 5-1 loss to SAC newcomer Queens on Sunday, AU enters the postseason with an even 8-8 overall record with a 7-4 mark in conference play, handing the Trojans the fifth seed in the annual tournament. Anderson looks to continue a consecutive streak of double figure wins since joining the conference in 2011, as the Trojans will need to advance to the tournament final to extend the streak.
Leading the team in victories for the season is freshman Rebecca Bruning, who closed the regular season with a 12-2 record and a perfect 10-0 mark in conference play. For her efforts during her first collegiate season, Bruning joined teammates Avery Owens and Karen Ching on the All-SAC Second Team Singles list. Owens and Ching, which were named to the All-SAC Second Team Doubles squad, combined for 16 victories between No. 1 and No. 2 singles, while totaling nine doubles wins at No. 1 position.
Sophomore Alexandra Ebner closed the regular season with eight victories while playing the majority of the year at No. 4, while junior Lindsay Gregory totaled the second-most wins on the team with nine with seven coming at No. 5. Sophomore Nikkola Wichenko went 7-5 at No. 6 this season, including going 6-4 in her last 10 matches.
Wrapping up its season on Sunday with a 9-0 blanking of Conference Carolinas member King, Newberry closed the year with a 15-7 record, including an 8-3 mark in the SAC. The Wolves’ lone setbacks came against the top-three teams in the conference (Wingate, Tusculum, Queens), while headlining their season with a 4-3 win over Division I’s Presbyterian College.
Newberry’s Romina Adum was placed on the All-SAC Second Team Singles squad, joining Owens, Bruning and Ching. Adum joined teammate Susana Aguirre on the All-SAC Second Team Doubles list, as the tandem closed the regular season with a 15-7 record, playing at the No. 1 position. Adum tied for second on the team in singles wins with 13, playing the majority of the year at No. 2.
Aguirre, who is projected to play the No. 1 slot, struggled within the conference this season, recording a 4-7 mark in the league with a 12-14 overall mark. Leading the team in singles wins was No. 3 player Vanessa Ortiz, finishing the regular season with a 17-8 record, which includes an 8-3 mark in the SAC.
Wingate enters the tournament as the top-seed after finishing the year 11-0 in conference action. The Bulldogs have outscored their conference opponents 79-18 for the year, but are coming off an 8-1 setback to nonconference opponent Mount Olive in their last match. Before the loss, WU won seven straight matches to seal the league’s regular season championship.
Second-seeded Tusculum went 10-1 for the year, while third-seeded Queens finished a match behind the Pioneers at 9-2. The Royals enter the annual tournament coming off a 5-1 win over Anderson on Sunday and winners of six of their last seven matches.
Following AU and Newberry in the seeding, sixth-seeded Mars Hill will meet Queens in the other quarterfinal matchup on Wednesday. The Lions enter the week with a 6-5 SAC record and an even 9-9 overall mark.