Third-seeded Campbell meets UNC Asheville Thursday in Big South women’s tennis quarters

Ana Maria Ortiz
Ana Maria Ortiz

ROCK HILL, S.C. – Third-seeded Campbell will take on sixth seed UNC Asheville (12-9, 4-5) Thursday at 3:30 p.m. in the quarterfinal round of the Big South Conference women's tennis championship.

Coach David Johnson's Camels (8-12) battled injuries and illness all spring, but secured the third seed with a 6-3 league mark after winning 4 of their final 5 matches against Big South foes.

"We were 4-10 at one point this year, but to end 6-3 in the conference and finish third with all the substitutions in our lineup, I've just got to give all the credit to the girls for hanging in there," said Johnson, now in his 15th year in charge of the program.  "It's been a roller coaster of a season, but we've slowly gotten better as the year has gone on.  We just need to hang in there over the next few days."

Freshman Ana Maria Ortiz, who compiled a 6-3 record against Big South foes and 10-9 in dual matches, was the only player in the singles lineup who did not miss action this spring due to injury.

Junior Karolina Chernaya leads the team in singles victories (17-10) and won 3 matches each at the first, second and third positions in dual outings.  She missed 5 matches in the spring due to back problems, but returned to action in league play and finished 5-4 against Big South opponents.

Sophomore Tamara Stanic was 16-12 in singles play, 9-8 in dual matches while splitting time between the top two spots.  Ortiz primarily played the second and third positions and with 10-9 in dual action.

Chernaya and Stanic combined to go 7-4 at the top doubles position, including a 7-2 mark against Big South competition.

In Campbell's 4-3 victory against UNCA Mar. 29 at Buies Creek, the Camels won the doubles point; then claimed the first three singles matches to be decided.  Stanic and Chernaya defeated Zoe Hamel and Erickia Rivero 8-2 at the top doubles post, while Ewa Telenga and Lourdes Ros teamed for an 8-5 triumph over Amryn Soldier and Gillian Lewis at the third position.

Chernaya, Natasha Afridi and Ros each won straight-sets decisions in singles before Asheville rallied for a pair of third-set super tie breaker wins to cut the final margin to one point.

The winner of Thursday's quarterfinal between the Camels and Bulldogs will square off against either second-seeded Charleston Southern or seventh seed Radford on Friday at 2:00 p.m.  Saturday's championship match is scheduled for a 9:00 a.m. start.  Winthrop (15-9, 9-0) is the top-seeded school in the event. 

Big South Women's Tennis Championship (at Rock Hill, S.C.)

Wednesday, April 17 / First Round
MATCH 1: No. 7 Radford 4, No. 10 Presbyterian 2
MATCH 2: No. 9 Longwood 4, No. 8 Gardner-Webb 3

Thursday, April 18 / Quarterfinals
MATCH 3: No. 1 Winthrop vs. No. 9 Longwood (8:00 am)
MATCH 4: No. 4 Liberty vs. No. 5 Coastal Carolina (10:00 am)
MATCH 5: No. 2 Charleston Southern vs. No. 9 Longwood  (12:30 pm)
MATCH 6: No. 3 Campbell vs. No. 6 UNC Asheville (3:30 pm)

Friday, April 19 / Semifinals
MATCH 7: Winner Match 3 vs. Winner Match 4 (10:00 am)
MATCH 8: Winner Match 5 vs. Winner Match 6 (2:00 pm)

Saturday, April 20 / Championship
Semifinal Winners (9:00 am)