The Oglethorpe women's tennis team found themselves locked in a tight match with the Berry Vikings in the SAA Tournament quarterfinals Friday morning in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. In a match between two regionally-ranked teams in the Atlantic South, 15th-ranked Berry prevailed over the 12th-ranked Stormy Petrels 5-4 in the end, though, eliminating them from the SAA Tournament and dropping them to 11-10 to finish their season.
The Petrels got off to an excellent start, pulling into a 2-1 lead after doubles. The Petrels' No. 1 doubles team of freshman Caroline Johnson and senior Katherine Walker took out their opponent 8-6 while senior MaryAnne Hafen and freshman Delaney Abood did the same with their opponent in the No. 3 slot. Junior Ingrid Wilcox and sophomore Halley Sickling fell 8-1 at No. 2 doubles, but the Petrels had a 2-1 lead headed to singles play.
In singles, though, Berry was able to turn the match around. They got a 6-1, 6-1 victory over Wilcox at No. 3 and a 6-2, 6-3 win over Hafen at No. 4, taking a 3-2 lead. Abood defeated her opponent at No. 6 in straight sets, 6-3, 6-4, tying it back up 3-3. The dual match came down to the final three individual matches. Walker fell 6-2, 7-5 at No. 2, bringing Berry to within a single point of victory. They got it with the No. 1 match, when Johnson hung tough, but lost a 2-set contest 7-5, 6-4.
Sickling took her match to a third set after the dual match had already been decided. She dropped the first set, but came back with two in a row, including the third in a 10-point tiebreaker. She eventually prevailed 6-7 (1), 6-3, 1-0 (5).
The Petrels accomplished a lot on the season, finishing 11-10 and in a tie for fifth place in the SAA. It's both the first time in the SAA era that the women's tennis program finished with a winning record and that they've finished as high as fifth in the conference.
"Overall, this has been an outstanding year for our women's team," said Oglethorpe head coach Peter Howell. "This was a difficult loss today, but this team accomplished a great deal this season. I'm very proud of all their hard work throughout the year."