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Temperatures warmed up and the UNCW women’s tennis team took advantage of the welcome change to defeat Mercer 7-0 in the spring debut for Coach Evan Clark’s team Sunday at the UNCW Courts.
In Sunday’s clash, the Seahawks won the doubles point and dropped just two sets in singles to beat the Bears of the Atlantic Sun Conference.
“It was great to get the season kicked off today and I’m proud of the way the team handled its first match of the spring,” said Clark, who begins his second season. “There are always some nerves involved in the first match of the year, so it’s nice to get those out of our system and get the kinks out in general.”
Senior Kelly Cameron and junior Miller Hales got the Seahawks rolling with an easy 6-0 win at No. 3 doubles before senior Angie Sekely and junior Alyssa Ritchie pounded Roxy Bartz and Lucie Payrat, 6-1, at the No. 2 position to clinch the important doubles point.
Sekely pushed the score to 2-0 by crushing Payrat 6-2, 6-0, at No. 2 singles and Ritchie followed suit with a straight set shutout over of Isabel Dennis at No. 3.
Sunday’s match opened a three-match homestand for the Seahawks to kick off the spring season. UNCW returns to action on Tuesday, Feb. 4, with a 2 p.m. match against regional rival Coastal Carolina.
AquaHawks swept by Hokies
UNCW won seven events, including three relays, but nationally ranked Virginia Tech posted a sweep of the Seahawks winning the men’s meet 181-112, and the women’s meet 169.5-125.5 on Saturday at the Seahawk Natatorium.
Heading up the Seahawk charge was Hannah Stephenson, who won the 200 backstroke with a time of 2:04.41 and swam legs on UNCW’s 200 medley and 400 freestyle relay teams.
Jenson Engen captured the women’s 100 breastroke (1:04.00) and also swam on the winning 200 medley relay.
Michael Baric posted UNCW’s only win on the men’s side, taking the 100 backstroke in a time of 50.14 seconds.
The Seahawks capped the meet with a sweep of the 400 free relay. The relay of Sears, Stephenson, Courtney Dangremond and Chelsea Tomko touched the wall with a time of 3:36.44. The men’s relay of Valtteri Halonen, Alex Labonge, Joe Gallene and Gabe Thrannipped the Hokies by .58 seconds for the victory.
UNCW returns to the pool on Feb. 1, when the women’s program visits Campbell and the diving teams head to East Carolina. Both meets begin at 1 p.m.
Seahawks fall in Sunshine State
No.35 Florida State edged No. 44 UNCW for the doubles point and then tacked on three singles victories to shut out the Seahawks 4-0 in the consolation match of the ITA Kick-Off Gainesville Regional Sunday at Florida’s Ring Tennis Complex.
The Seminoles pushed their record to 8-1 on the season and rebounded from a 4-3 upset to TCU on Saturday. The Seahawks stand 1-2 following their second straight loss after a season-opening win over Appalachian State.
UNCW played their second straight match without star player Rafael Aita, who is competing on Peru’s team in the Davis Cup.
On Saturday, No. 14 Florida cruised past UNCW 4-0 in the opening round match.
UNCW competes again on Saturday, Feb. 1, when the Seahawks travel to Coastal Carolina for a 1 p.m. match in Conway, S.C.