Cougars claim CAA titles in men’s golf, tennis

College of Charleston won a pair of Colonial Athletic Association trophies on Sunday as the men’s golf team three-peated and the men’s tennis team upset the No. 1 seed to win its first-ever CAA championship.

In Southport, N.C., the Cougars led wire-to-wire behind medalist William Rainey at St. James Plantation with a three round score of 296-282-291—869, 5 over par. It was 22 strokes better than runner-up James Madison (+27). UNC Wilmington (+29) was third, followed by Elon (+31), Drexel (+35), William & Mary (+40), Towson (+55) and Hofstra (+93).

The victory was yet another tournament title in memory of their late teammate, Jackson Moore.

“Today summed up our entire year — adversity,” Cougars coach Mark McEntire said. “We got off to a rough start and just kept grinding. I am so proud of this team. They deserve this championship. We played our hearts out and played for Jack (Moore). We got great rounds today from Parker Derby and William Rainey. We needed them to step up and they delivered.”

Rainey became the fifth golfer in school history to win individual medalist honors in the conference tournament.

Rainey, the Most Outstanding Golfer, was honored on the CAA All-Tournament Team along with Parker Derby, who tied for fifth at 1-over par. Philip Oweida tied for eighth (+5), Anthony Gabriele was 12th (+8) and John Jonas tied for 14th (+10).

Winners of the league’s automatic NCAA bid, the Cougars will learn their postseason seeding and regional site as the NCAA Division I Men’s Golf Championship Selection Show will be aired live on May 5 at 9:30 a.m. on the Golf Channel.

In Elon, N.C., the Cougars men’s tennis team rallied from a 1-0 deficit to defeat No. 1 seed UNC Wilmington, 4-3, to earn an automatic bid to the NCAA Regional tournament, the first round of the NCAA tournament. They will find out the location and tournament dates in the coming weeks.

“I am extremely proud, and excited for our guys.” Cougars coach Jay Bruner said. “They fought just like they have all season. They continued to get better and better as the season went on and they earned this win today against a very good team.”

This is the third consecutive season that Charleston (19-6) had made it to the CAA Championship final round. With the match tied at 3, Charleston’s Juan Estevarena secured the clinching point, 4-6, 6-3, 6-3, over the CAA Men’s Tennis Player of the Year, Santtu Leskinen, to bring home the championship for the Cougars.

The Cougars got other singles victories from Zack Lewis, Charlie Ghriskey and Garrett Gordon.

Softball

College of Charleston softball coach Linda Kalafatis earned her 900th career win as the Cougars took down Towson, 3-2, in the rubber match of the series in Mount Pleasant.

Kalafatis is in her third season as head coach at the College of Charleston, and her 27th season overall. Her career record now stands at 900-541-2, and she is now the 16th active Division I head coach to reach 900 winsk.

Rebecca Mueller and Dana Horgan each recorded two hits and Valerie Cassell drew three walks as Charleston (28-21, 6-9 CAA) was able to get up early and hold on to the lead late.

Charleston Southern was unable to overcome a quick start by Liberty in a 3-2 loss in Lynchburg, Va.

Natalie Yonan went 2 for 3 to lead the Bucs (21-29, 9-11 Big South), including a double. Amanda Matsumoto added two hits.