GREENEVILLE, Tenn. --- The Tusculum University women's tennis team clinched its first South Atlantic Conference championship in nine years as the Pioneers defeated Lincoln Memorial University 6-1 Wednesday afternoon at the Nichols Tennis Complex.
The 16th-ranked Pioneers (14-2, 9-0 SAC) won their 11th straight match and will earn the outright SAC championship with a victory at Catawba in their regular-season finale on Saturday. Tusculum won five of the six singles matches after taking the doubles point against the Railsplitters (10-8, 4-5 SAC).
The conference regular-season championship is the sixth in program history and the first since winning back-to-back titles in 2009 and 2010. The Pioneers also won at least a share of the SAC championship in 2002, 2003 and 2004.
In doubles, the 25th-ranked team of Annie McCullough and Caitlin McCullough defeated Johanna Delisse and Kiersten Waugh of LMU 6-3 at flight one. At flight two, Julia Loos and Amanda Dahlstrom upset the Pioneers' 20th-ranked team of Julia Lopez and Africa Mota by a 7-5 score, but Tusculum's duo of Emilie Hansen and Brittani Brooks outlasted Kristin Vogel and Samantha Hogan 7-6 (7-3) at flight three to clinch the doubles point.
In singles, 46th-ranked Annie McCullough beat Delisse 6-0, 6-3 at flight one and Mota downed Dahlstron 6-3, 6-2 at flight five. Hansen then delivered the match-clinching point as she beat Vogel 6-1, 7-5 at flight three. Tusculum won two of the three remaining matches, as Caitlin McCullough beat Loos 6-3, 6-4 at flight two and Lopez downed Waugh 8-4 at flight four. Claudia Rodriguez gave LMU its only point with an 8-6 win over Brooks at flight six.
The Pioneers will square off with Catawba on the road beginning at noon on Saturday before hosting a SAC quarterfinal match on Tuesday against an opponent to be determined.