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McCulloughs advance to semifinals in doubles at ITA Cup

Annie McCullough in action Thursday at the ITA Cup (photo by Intercollegiate Tennis Association)
Annie McCullough in action Thursday at the ITA Cup (photo by Intercollegiate Tennis Association)

ROME, Ga. --- Tusculum University's Annie McCullough advanced to the singles quarterfinals and teamed with Caitlin McCullough to upset the top seed and move into the doubles semifinals of the Division II bracket at the ITA Cup Thursday at the Rome Tennis Center.

Annie McCullough defeated Kierstin Hensley of West Virginia State 6-0, 7-5 in her opening match and will face defending ITA Cup champion Berta Bonardi of West Florida in the quarterfinals on Friday at 10:45 a.m. Bonardi, the fourth seed in the field, had to rally for a 3-6, 6-1, 6-1 win over Kate Daugherty of Dallas Baptist in her opening match.

In doubles, the McCullough sisters opened with a 6-2, 6-3 victory over Ashley Penshorn and Marina Vigil of St. Mary's (Texas), then knocked off the top-seeded pair of Ulyana Grib and Valeriya Pogrebnyak of Lynn by a 6-1, 6-4 score in the quarterfinals.

The McCulloughs will play the lone seeded team still in the championship bracket on Friday at 3:15, facing off with fourth-seeded Nikol Alekseeva and Anna Novikova of Indianapolis. The teams have faced each other previously, with Alekseeva and Novikova beating the McCulloughs 6-3 as part of a 7-0 Indianapolis win over Tusculum on Feb. 15 of last season.

The winners of Friday's doubles semifinals will meet on Saturday for the Division II national championship and the right to advance to the ITA Cup against the winners of the Division III, NAIA and JUCO divisions. The overall ITA doubles champ will qualify for the National Fall Championships in Newport Beach, California next month.

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