UNCG opens SoCon play with pair of home matches
UNCG (2-1) vs. Chattanooga (2-3), Feb. 26, 1 p.m., UNCG Tennis Courts
UNCG vs. Samford (5-0), Feb. 27, 11 a.m., UNCG Tennis Courts
- Coming off a pair of 5-2 nonconference wins over Coastal Carolina and East Carolina, UNCG will return home to open the Southern Conference portion of its schedule. The Spartans will face off against Chattanooga at 1 p.m. before returning to the action on Sunday with an 11 a.m. match against Samford.
- Back on Feb. 16, UNCG traveled to Greenville, N.C. to face East Carolina in a nonconference tilt. The Spartans got the match started off on a good note by taking the doubles points, but fell behind in singles after dropping the first two matches. UNCG came storming back though to take the final four singles matches, all coming in three sets, to defeat the Pirates, 5-2.
- Chattanooga is currently 2-3 on the young season with a win 6-1 win over Belmont in its season-opener and a 5-2 win over Jacksonville State this past Sunday. Between those two matches, the Mocs lost three straight, capped off with a 6-1 loss at the hands of Coastal Carolina.
- Samford has run out to a perfect 5-0 to start the spring season. The Bulldogs started the season off with a 7-0 sweep of Belmont and also performed another 7-0 sweep on Wednesday against UAB. In their first five matches, the Bulldogs have won 31 out of a possible 35 team points.
- Sophomore transfer Niltooli Wilkins has provided a spark for the Spartans from her No. 1 singles position. She is a perfect 3-0 so far in the spring and has also teamed up with Lucy Dougherty in doubles to post a 2-1 record.
- On Feb. 5, the Spartans hosted Coastal Carolina at the Piedmont Indoor Tennis Center for their home opener. UNCG swept all three doubles matches to claim the early lead on the doubles point. Coastal Carolina would claim the first singles match to tie the match at one, but UNCG then won three matches in a row to clinch the win for the Spartans. The two teams split the final two singles matches as the Spartans came out victorious, 5-2.
- On Sunday, Jan. 30, the Spartans traveled up to Blacksburg, Va. to face ACC foe Virginia Tech for their first match of the spring season. The teams fought hard for the doubles point to start the afternoon as it all came down to No. 3 doubles. Virginia Tech was able to get a break with that match tied at six to go on and win the match, 8-6, to give the Hokies the point. In singles, Niltooli Wilkins, competing at No. 1 singles, was the lone winner for the Spartans as she scored a 7-6 (7-5), 6-2 victory.
- Last season, the Spartans went 10-11 during the spring season. UNCG also had a 4-6 mark in Southern Conference matches to finish in seventh place as a team.
- At the conclusion of the season, the Spartans earned plenty of awards from the Southern Conference. Alex Whitehead was named second-team All-SoCon at the No. 1 singles position, while Annette Rios claimed second-team honors at No. 5 singles. Whitehead also teamed up with Mikayla Rogers to earn second-team All-SoCon at No. 3 doubles.
- Whitehead and Rios weren't done collecting postseason hardware as the duo were both named to the Southern Conference All-Freshman Team after the year was over.
- The Spartans received a boost during the fall portion of their schedule from Niltooli Wilkins, a sophomore transfer from Minnesota. Wilkins went 11-5 during the fall in singles competition, including victories in her first six matches as a Spartan.
- Perhaps the greatest win for UNCG in the fall was Wilkins' defeat over Hilary Bartlett from Pinceton, who was ranked 49th in the nation at the time, 2-6, 6-3, 1-0 (10-7), at the Kitty Harrison Invitational.
- UNCG found success earlier this season at the Air Force Invitational at the beginning of October. Whitehead teamed up with Stephanie Macfarlane to earn runner-up honors in doubles, while Wilkins claimed runner-up honors in singles at the event.
- The Spartans also had tremendous success as they hosted the Spartans Doubles Challenge. UNCG went 16-4 overall at the event with Wilkins and Whitehead winning the Navy group, while Devon Sutherland and Dilara Yurtkuran claimed top honors in the Gold group.
- At the UVA Fall Invitational back in September Whitehead and Macfarlane were able to come home with third place honors in the doubles bracket.
- UNCG -