Repeating earlier success in the regular season, Appalachian State University women's tennis shutout Western Carolina, 4-0, in the opening round of the 2012 Southern Conference Tennis Championship at The College of Charleston
Tennis Center on Thursday. Originally scheduled for 2 p.m., the match concluded shortly before 10 p.m. due to lengthy rain delays. "The toughest part of today's match was that the players had to wait for so long and then play under the lights," noted head coach Colin Crothers.
The sixth-seeded Mountaineers (13-10, 5-5 SoCon) now advance to take on No. 3 Furman (13-9, 8-2 SoCon) on Friday at 3 p.m. at O. Perry Earle, Jr. Tennis Center & Donald C. Bunch Courts on the campus of The Citadel.
After a wet start to the day, the Apps' match was pushed to an evening start, but the Mountaineers showed no signs of hesitation. The Apps came out firing until play was suspended less than 20 minutes later due to an unexpected downpour; the teams were forced to stand-by for over three hours until action resumed under lights.
No. 11 seed WCU (1-19, 0-10 SoCon) forfeited the No. 3 position, leaving ASU one match from securing the pairs point. Appalachian seniors Gabriela Celi (Orlando, Fla./Lake Howell) and Gisela Fernandez (Guadalajara, Mexico/TEC Monterrey) took the honor by winning five straight games to convert a 3-2 lead into an 8-2 victory, putting the Apps on the scoreboard, 1-0.
Singles play began after 9 p.m., more than seven hours later than the originally scheduled match start time.
While the top of the Appalachian lineup came out flat, ASU's No. 4 and No. 5 players thrived. WCU forfeited the No. 6 match, presenting ASU with a 2-0 lead.
In the No. 5 match, senior Kim-Lea Dinh (Maisons-Alfort, France/Lycee Eugene Delacroix) began by winning three straight games, and though she allowed her Catamount opponent register a game, Dinh scored nine straight games to conclude a 6-1, 6-0 victory.
Sophomore Jessica Thaggard (Acworth, Ga./Etowah) earned the distinction of winning the match-clinching point, as she dominated her match in the No. 4 spot, winning 6-0, 6-0 for her third double-bagel shutout of the year.
With ASU in possession of an insurmountable 4-0 advantage, matches in the No. 1-3 spots were halted by tournament rule.
In the quarterfinals, action between No. 6 Appalachian State and No. 3 Furman is slated for 3 p.m. on Friday at The Citadel. Said Crothers of the matchup, "Furman is a tough team, but if we play our best, we have a chance."
Live results are available at SoConSports.com.