Four Pioneers to compete at ITA Southeast Regional

Four Pioneers to compete at ITA Southeast Regional

GREENEVILLE, Tenn. --- The Tusculum University women's tennis team will send several players to the Intercollegiate Tennis Association Southeast Regional Small College/Oracle Championships starting Friday at the Palmetto Tennis Center in Sumter, South Carolina.

Seniors Annie McCullough, Caitlin McCullough, Africa Mota and Julia Lopez will compete in the four-day event, which begins Friday morning and continues with championship action on Monday morning.

Annie McCullough is seeded fifth in the bracket and will play her first match on Friday at 3:30 p.m. against the winner of the opening-round match between Grace Forbes of Queens and Ece Yuksel of Mount Olive. McCullough is a veteran of the ITA Regional, having competed three previous years and advancing to the quarterfinals last season. The Belfast, Northern Ireland native is a tournament veteran, owning a 9-3 career singles record and earning a spot in the singles finals in 2016 before being a quarterfinalist each of the last two years. McCullough is 3-0 in singles this fall and has a career record of 66-9 at Tusculum.

Caitlin McCullough is also seeded and will face the winner of the match between Hannah Price of Carson-Newman and Merye Gobernate of Augusta in her opening match on Friday at 5 p.m. McCullough was upset in her first match at last year's regional and came back to win two matches in the consolation bracket. In 2017, McCullough was eliminated in the round of 16 after two victories, giving her a career regional record of 4-2. The Belfast, Northern Ireland native is 4-2 in singles this fall, giving her a three-year record in singles at Tusculum of 37-14.

Lopez earned a seed and will play at 4 p.m. Friday against the winner of the match between Mirna Curcic of Anderson and Eva Zannier of Francis Marion. The Zaragoza, Spain native is 3-2 in singles at the ITA Southeast Regional in her career, and is off to a perfect 6-0 start this fall to boost her career record to 34-13.

Mota will face Julieta Boer of Young Harris in a play-in match at 12:30 Friday afternoon, with the winner moving on to play Beatriz Lopez of Columbus State in the round of 64 at 4:30 Friday. Mota competed at the ITA Regional for the first time in her career last season and dropped her opening match before coming back with a victory in the consolation bracket. The native of Palma de Mallorca, Spain has a record of 2-2 in singles this fall and owns a 44-25 career mark.

In doubles, the McCulloughs are seeded second and will play Saturday morning at 9 a.m. against the winner of Friday's match between Kylee Ramsey and Lindsey Wiggins of Limestone and Madelyn Schott and Talia Semaan of Belmont Abbey. The duo was upset in the first round of doubles in last year's regional after advancing to the semifinals in 2017. The McCulloughs have a 2-1 record this fall and 46-10 as a duo in three years together at Tusculum.

Lopez and Mota are also seeded and will play Saturday at 8 a.m. against the winner of Friday's match between Alish Liashova and Ana Carla Resende of Carson-Newman and Vicky Beardsley and Una Pandurevic of Catawba. Last season, Lopez and Mota won their first match at the regional and were eliminated in the round of 32. The duo went 16-9 as a team last season and are off to a 2-1 start as a team this year.

The consolation rounds in singles will begin Saturday morning at 10:30 a.m.