CSU wins Big South women’s tennis crown

Marketa Placha helped CSU clinch Big South tennis title.

Big South Conference player of the year Marketa Placha started and finished Charleston Southern’s 4-0 victory over Coastal Carolina on Saturday that gave the Bucs (18-2) the Big South tournament women’s tennis championship.

Coach Mike Baker’s regular-season/tournament champion CSU squad earned a berth in the upcoming NCAA tournament with the victory in the final at the Asheville Racquet Club.

Appropriately, Placha, a senior from the Czech Republic, clinched the title with a No. 1 singles 6-4, 6-0 victory over Coastal’s Libby Scott, who had handed the CSU ace one of the only two losses she suffered during the regular season. Placha also teamed with German freshman Sophie Cloessner for an 8-0 win at No. 3 doubles that opened the way for the Bucs’ first point.

After winning the doubles point, CSU quickly moved into position to capture the championship with one-sided wins at Nos. 2 and 3 singles as German senior Yvonne Hubler blitzed Coastal’s Romane Delay, 6-2, 6-0, following Canadian senior Angelica Sidorenko’s 6-2, 6-2 victory over Coastal’s Honami Yazawa at No. 3.

Charleston Southern captured the doubles point when the No. 2 Nicolin Luecke/Hubler team finished off an 8-6 win over Coastal’s Maria Babayan and Sara Bondar. Placha and Cloessner made quick work of Coastal’s Cari Berry/Delay team to give the Bucs the early lead.

CSU’s Mi’Kola Cooper and Sidorenko led the Libby Scott/Yazawa pair, 6-5, at the No. 1 position when the Bucs clinched the doubles point. Former Porter-Gaud star Cooper owned a 6-4, 0-1 lead over Coastal’s Sara Bondar at No. 4 singles when Placha wrapped up the title.

The Bucs trailed at Nos. 5 and 6 singles when the match ended.

The No. 2 College of Charleston women’s tennis team finds itself with a ticket to the CAA championship match for a second straight year after defeating Elon, 4-1, Saturday at the Millie West Tennis Facility in Williamsburg, Va.

“It was Senior Day Take II for us,” CofC head coach Angelo Anastopoulo said. “(Elon’s) Coach Anderson has done a terrific job with her freshmen. It takes years to build up the mental and physical endurance to win a match like that. The only reason we won today is that we had a little more experience in that, as evidenced by the performance of our seniors.”

The Cougars (14-12, 6-1 CAA) previously defeated the Phoenix (15-8, 2-2 CAA) in a close 4-3 regular-season conference match just eight days earlier.

Charleston took an early 1-0 lead by clinching the doubles point for the ninth straight match. After Elon’s duo Taylor Casey and Erica Braschi earned an 8-3 victory at the No. 3 doubles spot, the Cougars responded with consecutive wins at the top two spots. The 79th-ranked tandem of senior Jenny Falcone and junior Katherine Schofield topped Kirsten Ward and Barbora Lazarova, 8-2, for their eighth straight No. 1 doubles win. For the second day in a row, senior Samantha Maddox and sophomore Mara Argyiou clinched the doubles point for the Cougars at the No. 2 spot, this time downing Olivia Lucas and Bridget Liddell, 8-3.

CofC’s three seniors recorded wins in singles to give the Cougars their 10th straight win. Falcone struggled early on court five, needing a tiebreak to defeat Casey in the first set 7-6 (1). She then cruised to a 6-1 victory in the second set to boost Charleston’s lead to 2-0 and cement her eighth consecutive singles victory.

After Elon’s Lazarova put the Phoenix on the board with a win at No. 3 singles, CofC senior Grace Baker completed a three-set win over Kamilla Beisenova on court six. After falling 6-4 in the first set, Baker bounced back to take the next two sets 6-2, 6-3. Just as she had in doubles, Maddox clinched the match for the Cougars with a three-set victory at the top spot over Ward. Maddox, an all-CAA second-team selection, is now 11-14 on the season, with eight of her wins coming as CofC’s top singles player.

The Cougars face top-seeded William & Mary (15-6, 3-1 CAA) at 10 a.m. Sunday.

It came down to the last match standing as the No. 4-seeded College of Charleston men’s tennis team upset top-seeded and defending champion UNCW, 4-3, in the semifinals of the CAA Men’s Tennis Championship on Saturday at the Millie West Tennis Facility in Williamsburg, Va.

With the win, the Cougars (15-9) advance to the league’s championship match for the second year in a row and will face No. 3-seeded and host William & Mary at 2 p.m. Sunday.

It marked CofC’s first win over a ranked opponent this season in four tries as the Seahawks (11-8) were ranked No. 63 in the latest Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) rankings.

Sophomore Vasily Kichigan clinched the match for the Cougars, winning a three-setter at No. 4 singles over UNCW’s Xander Veys, 7-5, 3-6, 6-2. Junior Zach Lewis and junior Garrett Gordon also won their respective singles matches in straight sets at the No. 5 and No. 6 lines, respectively. Lewis won a second-set tiebreaker over Zach Hublitz, 6-4, 7-6 (4), while Gordon dispatched Andres Torres, 6-4, 7-6 (6).

CofC entered singles with momentum earning the doubles point early with wins at the No. 2 and 3 spots. Senior Charlie Ghriskey, a transfer from W&M, and Lewis defeated UNCW’s Santtu Leskinen and Xander Veys, 8-5, on court two.

Junior Josh Record and sophomore Rodrigo Encinas clinched the doubles point for the Cougars with a 7-4 tiebreak victory over Taylor Cramer and Hublitz on court three. The win was the eighth straight for Encinas and Record, who lead the Cougars with a team-best 10-1 doubles record.

The No. 2 South Carolina Gamecocks climbed to second place after going 8-under (280) at the 2015 SEC Championships on Saturday at the Greystone Golf and Country Club in Hoover, Ala.

South Carolina is 3-over (579) after two rounds of the tournament. Sophomore and former Pinewood Prep standout Katelyn Dambaugh was the highlight of the day, tying teammate Mary Fran Hillow’s school record and matching the SEC Championship record with a 7-under 65 to move to second place on the individual leaderboard at 6-under (138) overall.

South Carolina’s round of 280 is its best of the season and matches the second-best 18-hole team score in program history, just one stroke off the all-time low.

Dambaugh parred her final hole, the par-4 No. 4, to cap the day at 7-under. Dambaugh did not record a bogey all day. The sophomore is one stroke behind leader Bianca Fabrizio of Texas A&M (-7) after 36 holes.

The defending champion College of Charleston women’s golf team fired a 2-under par, second-round 290 to put itself in contention for a second straight title heading into the final day of tournament play at the CAA Women’s Golf Championship at The Reserve Club at St. James Plantation in Southport, N.C.

The Cougars, however, hold just a one-stroke lead (+16) over first-year league member Elon (+17), who led the field by seven strokes during the opening round on Friday. CofC gained much ground on Saturday after three of its Top 4 counting scores came in even-or-better. It was the lowest team round thus far of the tournament.

Junior Mary Chandler Bryan continues to pace the Cougars, shooting 1-under with three birdies on the day. She is currently tied for third individually at even par. Sophomore Laura Fuenfstueck went 1-under on her scorecard with three birdies. She is tied for fourth with junior teammate Louise Olsson, who shot 1-over in the second round and is +3 through 36 holes. Senior C.C. Buford also contributed to the team’s low round with a second-round 76 and is tied Delaware sits in third (+26), William & Mary in fourth (+38), James Madison in fifth (+40), UNCW in sixth (+42), Towson in seventh (+53) and Hofstra in eighth (+92). Last year, CofC won the team and individual title in its inaugural season as members of the CAA and earned the league’s automatic NCAA Regional berth.

The College of Charleston softball team split a twin bill with Drexel on Saturday at Drexel Softball Field in Philadelphia. The Cougars dropped game one, 9-1, in six innings but rebounded in game two with an 8-1 victory.

Taylor DuPree continued her impressive freshmen campaign by boosting her batting average to a team-leading .410 and now ranks second in program history with 23 stolen bases this season. The school record for most stolen bases in a season is 24 by Carly Corthell in 2011.

Freshman Victoria Bratcher led CofC at the dish on Saturday, going 3-4 with four RBIs and one walk between both games. She did most of her damage in game two, batting a season-high 3-3 with four RBIs. Freshmen Jordin Jones led off second game with her first career home run.

Senior Hope Klicker pitched a gem in the second half of the twin bill, allowing only two hits and one earned run in her fifth complete game of the season. Sophomore Samantha Martin allowed only one hit and had five strikeouts over her first five innings pitched in game one.

Marci Christian homered twice Saturday for Charleston Southern, but the Buccaneers fell twice on the road to Presbyterian, dropping game one, 8-7, and game two, 5-4.

The CSU senior slugger raised her 2015 season total to 21 on the year, connecting on a three-run shot in the first game and a solo shot in game two.

Presbyterian utilized home runs by Shelby Petik and Erin Ruff to take the first game of the series, while the Blue Hose pushed five runs across in the first two innings of game two and held off a late CSU comeback attempt.

Charleston Southern junior E.J. Redick took home a fourth-place finish in the triple jump to lead the Bucs at this weekend’s Georgia Tech Invitational in Atlanta.

Reddick jumped 14.92 meters on his third try to place in the top third of the field in the event hosted at the George C. Griffin Track. The effort was Reddick’s second best of the outdoor season and just .01 meters off the distance he jumped at last month’s Shamrock Invitational.

Fellow junior Kaishon Murray registered a top-20 finish in the 200-meter dash, meanwhile, placing 16th in the field of 41 competitors with a time of 21.71 seconds. Murray added a 21st-place standing in the 100-meter, running in 10.86 seconds. Teammate Sheldon Townsend placed 34th in the latter event.

The University of South Carolina team of Patrick Walters of Summerville and Gettys Brannon of Columbia brought a five-bass limit to the scale weighing 17 pounds, 1 ounce to win the 2015 FLW College Fishing National Championship on Saturday on Lake Murray.

The Gamecock duo beat out 44 teams in front of their hometown crowd to win the top award of a new Ranger Z117 with a 90-horsepower outboard and entry into the 2015 Forrest Wood Cup, the world championship of bass fishing.

“I don’t know what the greatest part of this moment is,” said Walters, a sophomore majoring in Business. “This has been the most amazing week. We had so much support from our family and friends, it is just incredible.”

This is the first FLW College Fishing National Championship title for the University of South Carolina, which will advance to the 2015 Forrest Wood Cup to compete on Lake Ouachita in Hot Springs, Ark.