CHARLESTON, S.C. - Charleston Southern women's tennis heads to the Big South Women's Tennis Championships seeking their second consecutive trip to the finals and fifth in the last six seasons.
Prior to that though, the Buccaneers face a tough test in Thursday afternoon's quarterfinal matchup as No. 4 CSU takes on No. 5 Presbyterian College at noon at the Rock Hill Tennis Center in Rock Hill, S.C.
The Bucs took the first matchup between the two teams back on Wednesday, March 14, in Clinton, S.C. with a tough 4-3 victory over the Blue Hose.
Junior Kimberley Koerner secured the winning point on court no. 5 in the third-set tiebreaker to keep CSU's then-unbeaten streak alive in Big South Conference play. The Wedel, Germany native bounced back after dropping the opening set to Caroline Ferrari, 6-3, with a 6-4 second set victory to send the match to the deciding third frame. The duo was evenly matched throughout regulation leading to the tiebreaker with Koerner earning the 7-6 (8-6) victory to secure the match win.
The Bucs overcame dropping the doubles point at the Templeton Tennis Courts by winning on singles courts 1, 3, 4, and 5, to top the Blue Hose. Sophie Cloessner, Filippa Ericson, and Madalina Man were victorious in their singles matches to help set up Koerner's win for the final point of the day.
CSU finished the 2018 regular season with an 11-7 overall record and a 5-3 mark in Big South Conference play. It was the seventh consecutive season the Bucs have posted double-digit wins and at least five conference victories.
The Bucs have only faced off with Presbyterian once in the postseason with the two teams meeting up in last year's quarterfinal round.
No. 2 CSU topped the No. 7 Blue Hose, 4-0, to advance to the semifinals in the 2017 Big South Quarterfinal round with CSU taking the doubles point and three straight-set wins on courts 2, 3, and 5.
Charleston Southern returns an experienced roster with strong senior leadership atop the first two courts this postseason.
Sophie Cloessner earned First Team All-Conference accolades for the third consecutive season on Tuesday morning by the conference office after posting an 11-4 overall record and 5-2 mark in conference play on court no. 1. Valeria Koussenkova added strong play on court no. 2 with an 8-8 record on the year and a 3-4 record in Big South competition.
Freshman Madalina Man added a strong freshman campaign on court no. 4 with an 8-5 overall record and 5-2 mark in conference play in receiving Second Team All-Conference honors.
Overall, CSU boasted five different players with at least eight singles wins on the season, while the doubles tandems of Sophie Cloessner/Madalina Man (11-7) and Filippa Ericson/Valeria Koussenkova (11-6) both reaching double-digit wins in 2018. The doubles duo of Cloessner/Man were recognized on the All-Conference Second Team.
Presbyterian went 11-8 overall in 2018 with a 4-4 record in Big South play on the year. Among the Blue Hose conference wins included 4-3 wins over Radford and UNC Asheville, and 5-2 victories over Garnder-Webb and Longwood. PC enters the conference tournament on a four-match winning streak and winners of six of their last seven dating back to March 22.
Sophomore Beth Taylor was recognized to the Big South's All-Academic Team on Tuesday morning and enters the postseason as PC's top individual player based on record with a 13-6 overall mark and a perfect 9-0 showing on court no. 4.
Brittany Nuttall was PC's player atop the singles lineup with a 5-13 overall record and 3-5 mark in conference play, while Katie Thompson (9-8, 5-3) recorded Presbyterian's lone positive mark in conference competition on the year.
Charleston Southern has an overall record of 15-15 against the current tournament field with winning marks against five of the seven teams overall. The only teams the Bucs have not topped in the postseason are UNC Asheville (0-1) and Winthrop (0-11).
Presbyterian is 0-5 all-time in the conference tournament since joining the Big South Conference. The Blue Hose have fallen to CSU, Gardner-Webb (0-2), Radford (0-1) and UNC Asheville (0-1).
The Bucs and the Blue Hose will be the second teams on the courts at the Rock Hill Tennis Center on Thursday afternoon. The winner of No. 8 Gardner-Webb/No. 9 Longwood will play top-seed Winthrop on Thursday morning at 9 a.m.
The 2018 Big South Conference Women's Tennis Championship presented by Musco Sports Lighting will be hosted by Winthrop University at the Rock Hill Tennis Center in Rock Hill, S.C. The opening first round match will take place Wednesday, April 18, with the winner advancing to the Quarterfinals against the No. 1 seed.
Quarterfinals are scheduled for Thursday, April 19, semifinals will be held on Friday, April 20, and the final will be on Saturday, April 21.
The winner of the tournament will receive the Big South Conference's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.