Story by Adam Stephens
The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga women’s tennis team celebrated Senior Day with a big win over visiting Southern Conference rival Elon at the UTC Tennis Courts this afternoon. The 4-3 win brings the Mocs record to 16-3 overall and 7-1 in league play.
Alexa Flynn, the lone senior on the Mocs roster, was honored prior to the match. The four-year starter had a big three-set win at No. 3 today, defeating Barbora Lazarova (6-3, 3-6, 6-1). She has guided Chattanooga to the most league wins in a season since 2000.
“She has so much positive energy and it carried over to the other girls,” head coach Jeff Clark said. “She’s the engine that makes our team go and she’s a great senior. We love her and hopefully we have a few more team wins in us as we head towards the conference tournament.”
“To me, it seemed like she played like someone who wasn’t going to allow her team to lose on senior day.”
This is the third year in a row that the match between UTC and Elon has ended 4-3 in Chattanooga’s favor. The Mocs stay in the hunt for the Southern Conference Regular Season title with today’s victory. They wrap up no worse than third place in the league standings. That’s their best showing in the league since 2002.
UTC’s doubles teams lost their footing in the beginning of the match with a loss at No. 1. It was the first defeat in league play for Flynn and junior Kaylene Chadwell, who dropped an 8-2 decision to Lazarova and Jordan Johnston.
Chattanooga bounced back when the No. 2 team of sophomores Kayla Jones and Katie Polk defeated Frida Jansaker and Maria Camara Ruiz (8-3). Junior Claire Mulyadi and sophomore Kelsey Coots clinched the point with their (8-5) win over Bryn Khoury and Taylor Casey.
“They really hammered us at No. 1,” Clark said. “Our two doubles really played solid today. Katie Polk came up big in that doubles. She and Kayla Jones worked together in that match and then No. 3 doubles we were down a break basically the entire match. Elon had ads to come up 6-4 and somehow we found a way to break and it finally went our way. Claire Mulyadi and Kelsey Coots really stepped up.”
With the match at 1-0 going into singles competition Chattanooga had the upper hand and was able to capitalize. Jones was tested at No. 1 by Johnston in the first set, but she shut her out in the second to give the Mocs a 2-0 lead.
Flynn gave Chattanooga a 3-0 lead with a win at No. 3. The match was then decided on court five when Mulyadi defeated Ruiz (7-5, 6-1).
“Claire Mulyadi getting the clenching point was huge today,” Clark said. “That girl has beaten her the last two years in a row, and Claire got a straight-set win. That was her best match of the season. Just a lot of heart, and a lot of fight against a good opponent.”
Chattanooga will return to the UTC Tennis Courts on Thursday April 10 for a rescheduled match against Lee University at 2:30 p.m.
The Mocs will then travel to Samford on Saturday, April 12, for the regular season finale. Samford is tied with Chattanooga for second place in the league race at 7-1 in SoCon action, 16-2 overall. Furman leads the SoCon at 7-0 (14-5 overall) and has matches at Western Carolina (April 9) and home against Davidson (April 10) remaining.
Don’t forget the Mocs host the Southern Conference Championships on April 16-19 at the Champions Club.
Chattanooga 4, Elon 3
Apr 06, 2014 at Chattanooga, Tenn. (UTC Tennis Courts)
1. Jordan Johnston/Barbora Lazarova (ELON) def. Kaylene Chadwell/Alexa Flynn (UTC) 8-2
2. Kayla Jones/Katie Polk (UTC) def. Frida Jansaker/Maria Camara Ruiz (ELON) 8-3
3. Kelsey Coots/Claire Mulyadi (UTC) def. Bryn Khoury/Taylor Casey (ELON) 8-5
1. Kayla Jones (UTC) def. Jordan Johnston (ELON) 7-5, 6-0
2. Frida Jansaker (ELON) def. Kaylene Chadwell (UTC) 1-6, 6-3, 7-5
3. Alexa Flynn (UTC) def. Barbora Lazarova (ELON) 6-3, 3-6, 6-1
4. Bryn Khoury (ELON) def. Kelsey Coots (UTC) 5-7, 6-3, 6-1
5. Claire Mulyadi (UTC) def. Maria Camara Ruiz (ELON) 7-5, 6-1
6. Tolley Rice (ELON) def. Alison Storie (UTC) 6-3, 6-7 (2-7), 1-0 (10-2)
Elon 10-8, 4-3 SoCon
Chattanooga 16-3, 7-1 SoCon
Order of finish: Doubles (1,3,2); Singles (1,3,5,6,4,2)