FLORENCE, SC – Seventh-ranked and top-seeded Columbus State University captured narrow doubles wins at positions No.1 and 3 and then went on to a 5-0 victory over 37th-ranked and fifth-seeded Francis Marion University, Saturday morning (April 22) in the semifinals of the 2017 Peach Belt Conference Women's Tennis Tournament at the Dr. Eddie Floyd Florence Tennis Center.
Francis Marion drops to 13-8 and the Patriots will now await Tuesday night's announcement of the NCAA Division II National Tournament field to see if they receive an at-large bid. FMU is ranked fifth in the latest NCAA Southeast region poll.
CSU (21-2) advances to face fourth-ranked and second-seeded Armstrong State University in the championship match on Sunday at 9 a.m. With the threat of rain on Sunday afternoon, the third-place and fifth-place matches have been canceled. CSU and ASU will also battle for the men's title on Sunday at 9 a.m. Admission to these matches is free.
The Cougars swept all three doubles points on Saturday, but not without a fight from the Patriots. CSU earned an 8-2 win at the No.2 spot and then took a hard-fought 8-5 decision at No.3. FMU was serving with a 40-15 edge and a chance to pull within 7-6 at No.3, but Columbus State rallied to win the game and match.
At the top doubles position, fifth-ranked Beatriz Leon and Beatriz Lopez defeated the FMU duo of senior Samantha Koelliker and sophomore Marie Krueger 9-7. The Patriots led 6-5 only to have the Cougars rally and take a 7-6 advantage. Koelliker and Krueger fought off several match points to knot the contest at 7-7, but the CSU won the final two games.
In singles action, Columbus State clinched the match with straight-set wins at positions No. 4 and 5. Both Koelliker (No.1) and Krueger (No.3) were up a set in their matches when the deciding point was earned by the Cougars and all other matches were stopped.
Match Notes: Francis Marion University 13-8; National ranking #37; Regional ranking #5 Columbus State University 21-2; National ranking #7; Regional ranking #1 Order of finish: Doubles (2,3,1); Singles (4,5) Peach Belt Conference Women's Tennis Tournament Semifinal match 9 Seeds: Columbus State #1, Francis Marion #5 T-2:53