The Elon University women’s tennis team’s 2014 season came to a close May 9 after a 4-0 loss to No. 1 overall seed University of Georgia in the first round of the NCAA Women’s Tennis Championship at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex in Athens, Ga.
“I’m so proud of the team,” Elon head coach Elizabeth Anderson said. “Being able to play in the [Southern Conference Tournament] and the [NCAA Tournament] has been an outstanding experience. [The team] fought so hard today and I’m proud of the effort that they gave and the determination that they’ve had all season long.”
The Phoenix, champion of the SoCon for the first time in program history, finishes the season with a record of 15-9.
The Southeastern Conference (SEC) champion Bulldogs (22-4) won the doubles point by winning all three matches. Senior Bryn Khoury and sophomore Taylor Casey were the first to fall on court No. 3, where the duo of freshman Caroline Brinson and senior Lilly Kimbell won, 8-2.
On court No. 1, the pairing of junior Lauren Herring and senior Maho Kowase, ranked No. 2 in the nation, topped Elon’s team of senior Jordan Johnston and Barbora Lazarova by the same margin to capture the doubles point and take a 1-0 lead over the Phoenix.
The Bulldogs stretched their lead to 2-0 after No. 102 Kimbell defeated Lazarova in straight sets, 6-0, 6-0. Lazarova, who clinched Elon’s SoCon semifinal match over Furman University, had her five-match winning streak snapped with the loss to Kimbell.
Junior Maria Camara Ruiz followed with a 6-0, 6-2 loss on court No. 5 to senior Kate Fuller, which gave the Bulldogs a 3-0 lead. No. 20 Kowase then sealed the win for Georgia on court No. 3, where she defeated Khoury, 6-1, 6-1.
The Phoenix will graduate three seniors — Johnston, Khoury and Frida Jansaker — that each finishes her career in the top six in Elon history in singles winning percentage. Jansaker and Johnston, who played together as doubles partners for the majority of their careers, currently hold the top two doubles winning percentages in Elon history, while Jansaker holds the Elon record for best career winning percentage.
“[The seniors] have been an absolute joy to work with,” Anderson said. “I’m so proud of them and all that they’ve done. To be able to go out playing in the NCAA tournament is just an amazing experience — it’s what every tennis player wants to have the opportunity to do.”