MOBILE, Ala. -- For the 10th time in program history Indiana Wesleyan University advances to the NAIA Women’s Tennis National Championship Second Round following a 5-4 victory over No. 16-seed College of Coastal Georgia on Tuesday in Mobile, Alabama.
No. 17-ranked Indiana Wesleyan will next play the top-seed in the tournament, Xavier (La.) University. That match begins tomorrow at 2 p.m. ET.
The Wildcats and Mariners competed in the First Round match with very different backgrounds. The Wildcats are tied with Auburn University Montgomery (Ala.) for the most all-time tournament appearances with 14. The two schools have qualified for the national tournament each year since the team format was introduced in 2000. The Mariners are in their second year as a NAIA program and made their first appearance this season. They were ineligible for the championship tournament last year since they were a new association member.
Experience won this time on the strength of its doubles teams. Indiana Wesleyan swept the opening three doubles matches and needed each point. Lauren Wilson and Andrea Meyering teamed as the No. 1 unit for Indiana Wesleyan and won 8-3. Katie Wilson and Kim Mella won 8-2 in No. 2 play while Rachael Heiniger and Kristen Futrell finished the doubles sweep with an 8-5 victory in No. 3 action.
The three points in doubles would prove to be critical as Coastal Georgia claimed four wins out of the six doubles matches to fall short by one point. It was the closest of the eight matches that were played on Tuesday.
Clinching the victory for Indiana Wesleyan were the Wilson sisters. Katie Wilson won the first singles point for Indiana Wesleyan with a 6-1, 7-5 victory at No. 2-singles. The deciding point for the team victory came in No. 4-singles. Lauren Wilson won a three set victory by scores of 3-6, 6-4, 6-3.
The Wildcats lost three of the four singles matches in three set contests. Heiniger fell by scores of 0-6, 7-6, 3-6 in No. 1-singles, Meyering lost 6-7, 6-4, 2-6 at No. 3, and Futrell dropped a 2-6, 6-3, 2-6 match in No. 5-singles. Mella suffered a 3-6, 1-6 loss at the No. 6 position.
The victory for Indiana Wesleyan is their 10th in national tournament history. IWU now holds a 10-13 all-time record at the national tournament dating back to 2000.
Indiana Wesleyan plays No. 1-seed Xavier tomorrow afternoon in Second Round action. Xavier is 17-7 on the season and is 5-6 all-time at the national tournament.