MOUNT PLEASANT — It was a double bagel of sorts for College of Charleston tennis teams on Monday at the Southern Conference championships.
The Cougars men’s team won its first SoCon title in nine years with a 4-0 victory over Samford, and the C of C women’s team took its fourth straight championship with a 4-0 win over UNC Greensboro at Patriots Point.
Both teams clinched berths in the NCAA championships, and will learn their first-round opponents on May 1.
For the 18-4 men’s team, the title means a trip to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2003.
“Being able to play in front of all of our family and friends and fans really paid off today,” said fifth-year coach Jay Bruner, the SoCon coach of the year. “We had a bunch of long matches against a really good Samford team. The guys really found some extra spirit to get through the match. It definitely paid off being able to play at home for the tournament.
“It means a lot for our program to get back to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2003,” he said. “It’s been a long break, especially for our seniors and the whole team. They have put in a lot of hard work the last three seasons and it has been a goal for our seniors.”
Senior Tom Delme was named tournament most valuable player, and Billy Kenny and Alon Faiman also won singles matches.
Charleston’s women’s team, ranked No. 65, is 25-5 after knocking off SoCon regular season champ UNCG, and will make its fourth straight trip to the NCAAs.
“First off, Greensboro played a great match,” director of tennis Angelo Anastopoulo said. “We survived a lot of championship points today against them. (UNCG) deserves a lot of credit. They were the regular-season champion and we had to be at our best today to beat them. I’m really proud of our team to make it to the NCAA tournament four times in a row. This year is even more special, because we are sharing it with our men’s team. This is definitely a special time in Cougar tennis history to cherish.”
Sophomore Kelly Kambourelis was named tournament MVP, and Jenny Falcone and Katie Lee also won singles matches.