By John Mitchell
Chattanooga, Tenn.–The women’s tennis team capped their outstanding regular season on Saturday with a disappointing 7-0 loss to Samford.
Chattanooga’s season finale had the Southern Conference regular season championship on the line as both teams came in to the match undefeated in conference play.
Fans came out in full force to the UTC Tennis Courts to support the Mocs, and UTC used that momentum in doubles play as Katie Polk, Woodstock, Ga., and Rachele Gazzola, Palma de Mallorca, Spain, won their match at 8-2 at No. 3.
Samford answered by winning No. 2 doubles 8-2 and would eventually take the doubles point as Kayla Jones, Memphis, and Samantha Caswell, Chattanooga, were unable to complete their comeback.
The Bulldogs stretched their lead quickly after winning No. 6 singles and taking the pivotal two and three seeds convincingly.
Jones had UTC’s best shot at grabbing a point as she took the first set in her match 6-3. The second set was a battle that would eventually be won by Samford’s Stephanie N’tcha in a tiebreaker after fending off multiple match points. N’tcha would ride that momentum to take the match in the 10-point tiebreaker for the third set.
“It was a great college tennis atmosphere,” head coach Jeff Clark said. “It was neat to see all these people out here cheering us on. Samford just played great today. At every position they were great.”
“To be able to play for a conference championship on your home court is what you want, but Samford came out really fired up and beat us.”
Chattanooga loses three seniors next season in Kaylene Chadwell, Franklin, Tenn., Claire Mulyadi, Semarang, Indonesia and Jovana Pecovski, Apatin, Serbia.
The second-place Mocs close the regular season with a 17-3 (5-1 in SoCon) record, and will now focus their attention on Western Carolina in the Southern Conference Tournament on Apr. 24 in Greenville S.C.