BREVARD, N.C. --- Queens University of Charlotte advanced to the South Atlantic Conference Women's Tennis championship match with a 5-3 win over Tusculum College in a semifinal match Saturday morning at the McCoy Tennis Complex on the campus of Brevard College.
The third-seeded Royals (13-3), ranked 42nd in the latest ITA Division II poll, won two out of three doubles matches and earned three of five points in singles to advance to Sunday's championship match against top-seeded Wingate.
The second-seeded Pioneers (19-5), ranked 44th in the ITA poll, had defeated the Royals 6-3 during the regular season, but fell behind in three of the six singles matches and could not rally in time to advance to the finals.
In doubles, the Pioneers took the first point as Franziska Funke and Amanda Sumner defeated the Royals' Carlotta Nassi and Caroline Nielsen 8-4 at flight two. Queens evened the match at flight three as Claire Hamilton and Hannah Lehfeldt bested Adrienne Kaye and Emily Waters by a score of 8-5.
The Royals took the final point in doubles at flight one to take a 2-1 lead into singles, as Marta Gonzalez and Melissa Laing claimed an 8-6 win over Erin Mills and Kealee Heffner.
In singles, the Pioneers tied the match at 2-2 when Sarah Baker beat Hamilton 7-5, 6-3 at flight five. Queens regained the lead at 3-2 as Lehfeldt defeated Waters 7-5, 6-4 at flight six, and the Royals went ahead 4-2 behind a 6-2, 7-5 win by Laing over Mills at flight three.
Needing the final three points to win the match, the Pioneers picked up the first one at flight two where Funke was a 6-4, 7-5 winner over Gonzalez to cut the Queens lead to 4-3.
Queens clinched the match at flight four, as Nielsen defeated Kaye 6-3, 7-5 to earn the decisive fifth point. At flight one, Heffner and Nassi split the first two sets, then Heffner rallied from a 2-5 deficit to tie the score at 5-5 before the match was stopped due to the Royals earning the clinching team point.
Wingate and Queens will play Sunday at 9 a.m. to determine the SAC Tournament champion and the automatic qualifier to the NCAA Division II Tournament. Wingate beat Newberry 5-1 in Saturday's other semifinal match.
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