2014 NAIA Women's Tennis National Championship First Round Recap
By: Sam Knehans, Communications & Sports Informatio n Intern
MOBILE, Ala. — (Results | Bracket) The 2014 NAIA Women’s Tennis National Championship kicked off at 8:30 a.m. CDT Tuesday with eight concurrent matches taking place across 48 courts at the Mobile Tennis Center in Mobile, Ala. Two teams, Northwood (Fla.) and Westmont (Calif.), recorded 9-0 sweeps to headline Tuesday’s victors.
Both Northwood (8-1, 8-1, 8-0) and Westmont (8-1, 8-0, 8-2) jumped out to 3-0 leads with convincing wins at all three doubles positions before heading into singles play. For the Seahawks, Julia Cusumano had the closest margin of victory (6-4, 6-2), at No. 6 singles, as Northwood took down Mobile (Ala.), 9-0. Against Morningside (Iowa), Kate Stratman played the closest match for Westmont, at No. 2 singles, but came away with the win (6-3, 6-2) to help the Warriors advance, 9-0.
On the other end of the spectrum, both Davenport (Mich.) and Milligan (Tenn.) battled to 5-4 victories to advance to the second round. Davenport swept its doubles matches (8-2, 9-8, 8-2) and won at No. 1 (6-1, 6-3) and No. 4 singles (6-2, 7-5) to accumulate the requisite 5 points, while Milligan collected wins at No. 1 doubles (8-6) and No. 1 (7-5, 3-6, 6-4), No. 2 (5-3 Retired), No. 4 (5-7, 7-6, 5-0) and No. 6 (6-2, 6-4) singles. In eliminating Lewis-Clark State (Idaho) and Cardinal Stritch (Wis.), the Panthers and Buffaloes each recorded their first-ever national championship win.
In the lone upset of the first round, Indiana Wesleyan jumped out to a 3-0 lead on the Mariners of Coastal Georgia in doubles play, including a hard-fought 10-8 win at the No. 3 position. The momentum carried into singles, where the Wildcats went 4-2—highlighted by a convincing 6-1, 6-3 win by Katie Wilson at No. 1—en route to their 25th win on the season, 7-2.
Oklahoma Baptist cruised to an 8-1 win over IU Southeast (Ind.) to improve to 2-1 in national championship play. The Bison’s lone defeat was a 9-8 battle at No. 2 doubles, where Ashley Bunch and Katie Morrison ultimately prevailed for the Grenadiers.
Graceland (Iowa) and Concordia (Calif.) found competitive first round matchups in McPherson (Kan.) and Northwestern Ohio. Graceland overcame a 2-1 deficit by going 5-1 in singles play, with its only loss coming in three sets at No. 3, to earn its first-ever national championship win, 6-3. On the contrary, Concordia was 3-0 heading into singles play after winning three competitive doubles matches (8-6, 8-5, 8-5), but split its singles results, with wins at No. 1, No. 4 and No. 5, to seal its own 6-3 victory.
The top eight seeds, which receive first round byes in the national championship, will compete against Tuesday’s winners in second round play, beginning at 9:00 a.m. Wednesday.
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.