ASHEVILLE, N.C. (www.BigSouthSports.com) - In a fitting end, junior Yasmine Alkema clinched the shutout 4-0 victory over Coastal Carolina Saturday at the Asheville Racquet Club south to send Winthrop back to the NCAA Championships for the fifth straight season.
Winthrop earns its tenth championships in the last 11years and it is the 12th trip to the NCAA Championships for head coach Cid Carvalho. The Eagles close out the tournament with a 15-10 overall mark and did not drop a doubles point or singles set throughout the weekend.
The Eagles did not get off to its usual quick start in the doubles round as they found themselves down early at the No. 1 and No. 3 positions. At the No. 2 doubles, the duo of senior Sandra Herrera and junior Giovanna Portioli cruised to an 8-2 win over Katie Fosnacht and Mikaela Kristofersson, avenging a 8-4 loss earlier in the season.
Coastal responded with an 8-4 win at the No. 3 position, as Maria Hesketh and Kourtney Kowal knocked off freshmen Camille Amrani and Ekin Gunaysu, 8-4.
The point came down the No. 1 position as Alkema and sophomore Andressa Garcia found themselves deadlocked with Coastal's Miki Bunea and Diana Mortlock, 6-6, when the No. 2 doubles finished. The Winthrop tandem proved to be too much, earning a hard fought 9-7 win to earn the opening point.
The momentum from the doubles round carried into the singles round for the Eagles, as in the three victories, Winthrop dropped just five games. Herrera showed her senior experience with a 6-1, 6-1 victory over Fosnacht to start the winning trend at No. 3 singles. Following Herrera was Portioli who defeated Kristofersson, 6-0, 6-1, at the No. 4 position.
As two more Winthrop players took the opening set of their respective matches, Alkema was the first to close out her match and clinch the championship point, 6-2, 6-0 at No. 1, sending Winthrop to the NCAA Championships. With the win, the junior remained perfect in Conference matches this season, not dropping a single set.
The NCAA Championships will begin on May 17th as Winthrop will know their tournament fate on Tuesday, May 1st at 5:30pm. The Eagles will look to earn their first NCAA Tournament win in the program's history.
Winthrop Head Coach Cid Carvalho:
"I'm so proud of my players, we had a great season and played this tournament very well. All three matches were really ready and up for each match. We played some really good competition and I'm glad we came out on top."
Winthrop 4, Coastal Carolina 0
1. ALKEMA, Yasmine (WUW) def. BUNEA, Miki (COASTALW) 6-2, 6-0
2. GARCIA, Andressa (WUW) vs. MORTLOCK, Diana (COASTALW) 6-3, 3-2, unfinished
3. HERRERA, Sandra (WUW) def. FOSNACHT, Katie (COASTALW) 6-1, 6-1
4. PORTIOLI, Giovanna (WUW) def. KRISTOFERSSON, M (COASTALW) 6-0, 6-1
5. GUNAYSU, Ekin (WUW) vs. MALATEK, Amanda (COASTALW) 6-1, 4-5, unfinished
6. AGUADO, Monica (WUW) vs. KOWAL, Kourtney (COASTALW) 6-6, unfinished
1. ALKEMA, Yasmine/GARCIA, Andressa (WUW) def. BUNEA, Miki/MORTLOCK, Diana (COASTALW) 9-7
2. HERRERA, Sandra/PORTIOLI, Giovanna (WUW) def. FOSNACHT, Katie/KRISTOFERSSON, M (COASTALW) 8-2
3. HESKETH, Maria/KOWAL, Kourtney (COASTALW) def. AMRANI, Camille/GUNAYSU, Ekin (WUW) 8-4