Lady Braves Hold Strong At Methodist Invitational
FAYETTEVILLE – The UNCP women's tennis team posted a strong finish on the first day of the Methodist Invitational on Saturday in Fayetteville as Mia Winterbottom, Leigh-Anne McAffe, Shelby Bickel, Madeline DiNunzio and Beverly Vause have each advanced to championship play on Sunday.
Winterbottom, an Australia native, won a third set tiebreaker in quarterfinals action to advance to the semifinals where she was victorious with a 6-2, 6-2 score. With those two victories, Winterbottom will compete in the championship match on Sunday against Puja Patel of Meredith. Hannah Herlocker also competed in the first singles bracket with Winterbottom, and advanced to the semifinal after posting a third set tiebreaker but fell 6-0, 6-1 in the semifinal round. Herlocker will face Ashley Pearsall of Meredith on Sunday in the consolation playoffs for third and fourth place.
Newcomer Monica Espitia showed expertise on the court in her opening tournament as a Lady Brave by downing her opponent 6-1, 6-2 before falling 6-2, 6-1 in the semifinals. Espita will play Domonique Crespo of Guilford in the consolation playoffs for third and fourth place on Sunday. Freshman McAfee clipped two 7-5 matches to win the quarterfinals and then two 6-2 sets in the semifinals to advance to the championship game on Sunday against Methodist's Kelli Shelton.
The fourth singles championship match will be played against UNCP teammates DiNunzio and Bickel after defeating the remaining competition. Bickel swept her opponent in the quarterfinals and then allowed her opponent only two games in the semifinals to force her way through the bracket. DiNunzio tallied two 6-2, 6-2 matches in both levels of the bracket landing herself in the championship match.
Allison Johnson collected 6-0, 6-0 scores in the quarterfinals before being upset 7-5, 7-5 in the semifinals. Johnson will face Allison Hewett of Guilford on Sunday in the consolation match for third and fourth place finish in fifth singles. Vause moved her way through the bracket with a 6-2, 6-3 victory in the quarterfinals and a 6-2, 6-1 semifinal win to move to the championship match against Guilford's Meredith Schaffer on Sunday.
In doubles action, McAfee and Bickel were defeated 8-2 and will compete again on Sunday along with Winterbottom and Herlocker who received a bye in the quarterfinals in the first doubles bracket. Espita and DiNunzio competed in second doubles and were halted before the match concluded with a 2-2 score but the match will resume on Sunday.
UNCP will continue action on Sunday in day two of the Methodist Invitational with action starting at 9 a.m., in Fayetteville.