WILLIAMSBURG, Virginia – One year after coming up short for a first conference title, UNCW is returning to the championship match after dominating James Madison, 4-0, in the semifinals of the 2014 CAA Women's Tennis Championships Saturday at William & Mary's Millie West Tennis Facility.
The Seahawks, playing JMU for the second time in 13 days, kept their 10-match winning streak intact and improved to 16-3 overall and 6-0 against CAA competition. The Dukes were eliminated from the tourney and ended their season at 14-6 and 3-4.
Coach Evan Clark's Seahawks, the No. 1 seed, have not lost since a narrow 4-3 setback to North Florida back on March 1 and cruised past JMU, 6-1, on April 6 at the UNCW courts. UNCW will face No. 2-seeded College of Charleston at 2 p.m. Sunday for the CAA's automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament.
In the convincing win over fourth-seeded JMU, the Seahawks claimed the early point with victories at the No. 1 and No. 3 positions. UNCW has only dropped the doubles point twice this spring.
The No. 3 team of Kelly Cameron and Miller Hales won their 12th consecutive match without a loss by stopping JMU's Cara Wirth and Sarah Khan, 8-2. UNCW's top doubles tandem of Olga Blank and Christine Kharkevitch then tripped up Alex Huie and Taylor Pinchoff, 8-3, to secure the point.
In singles, the Seahawks won the first three matches off the court to register their ninth shutout of the season.
"It was a great team win today," said Clark. "From singles to doubles, everyone played well today. We're playing very good tennis right now and I'm very pleased heading into the championship tomorrow.
"We're going to have to be at our best to beat the College of Charleston. We played them during the regular season and we had five three-set matches. It was a very tight match and they have a gritty, tough team. We'll have to play at a high level to come out with a win."
Senior Kelly Cameron, playing No. 6 singles, was the first finisher for the Seahawks. The Hilton Head Island, S.C., product improved to 9-4 in singles with a 6-3, 6-0 verdict over Emily Bradshaw to make the score, 2-0.
Senior Olga Blank raised the advantage to 3-0 by blitzing Alex Huie at No. 2 singles, 6-4, 6-0, setting up Angie Sekely's clincher at the top of the lineup. Sekely, the 2014 CAA Player-of-the-Year, won her 13th straight match and climbed to 17-1 this spring after defeating Taylor Pinchoff, 6-2, 6-4.
Sunday's championship match sets up a rematch between UNCW and CofC. The Seahawks and Cougars went head-to-head on April 4 in Wilmington. UNCW won the doubles point and claimed the top four singles matches to nail down the No. 1 seed for the CAA Tournament.
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