By: Sam Knehans, Communications & Sports Information Intern
MOBILE, Ala. — (Results | Bracket) For the first time since the team format was adopted in 2000, Auburn Montgomery (Ala.) will not compete in the national championship final, after being eliminated by No. 5-seeded Embry-Riddle (Fla.), 5-3, in the quarterfinals.
The Eagles jumped out to a 2-1 lead in doubles with wins by their No. 1 duo of Hui-I Huang and Kristina Marova (8-1) and their No. 3 tandem of Eva Vilar and Paula Ortiz Couder (8-6). The three-time defending national champion and No. 4-seeded Warhawks battled back, winning the first two singles matches at No. 3 (6-0, 6-2) and No. 1 (6-3, 6-1) to take a 3-2 lead. Embry-Riddle responded, earning a 6-3, 6-2 win at No. 6 and a 6-3, 6-4 decision at No. 4, before Paula Montero clinched the match with a three-set victory at No. 5 singles (4-6, 6-3, 6-1).
Top-seeded Xavier (La.) cruised to a 5-0 victory over unseeded Northwood (Fla.). The Gold Nuggets swept the doubles matches, with the closest being an 8-5 win by Kourtney Howell and Brion Flowers at No. 1. Nour Abbes and Kourtney Howell closed out the match with 6-1, 6-1 victories at No. 1 and No. 2 singles.
No. 7 SCAD Savannah (Ga.) put up a valiant effort against No. 2 Georgia Gwinnett. The Grizzlies swept the doubles matches, with the highlight being a grueling 9-8 win at No. 2 over the Bees’ tandem of Maria Barragan and Daniella Arcila. In singles play, 3-of-6 matches required a third set, with Paloma Cortina and Chiara Di Salvo earning the requisite wins at No. 3 (3-6, 6-0, 6-4) and No. 4 (6-3, 6-0), respectively. SCAD Savannah grabbed its lone win at No. 5 singles, when Daniella Arcilla took down Luma Schwab (6-3, 6-3).
No. 3 Lindsey Wilson (Ky.) clinched the final spot in the semifinals with a 5-2 victory over No. 6 Brenau (Ga.). The Blue Raiders grabbed a 2-1 lead in doubles play, with wins at No. 1 (8-4) and No. 3 (8-0), before heading to singles competition. There, Lindsey Wilson won at No. 3 (6-2, 6-2), No. 5 (6-1, 6-1) and No. 6 (6-3, 6-0) to advance.
Both Embry-Riddle and Lindsey Wilson remain undefeated in NAIA play this season.
A new national champion will be crowned this year, as none of the four semifinalists own a women’s tennis national title.
No. 1 Xavier will meet No. 5 Embry-Riddle in semifinal action, beginning at 9 a.m. CDT Friday, while No. 2 Georgia Gwinnett will face No. 3 Lindsey Wilson in the other matchup.
NeuLion, the official video streaming company of select NAIA National Championship events, will be broadcasting the national championship match from Mobile on Saturday, May 17. For more information on the free live video stream and to pre-register, click here.