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Sandy Mitsou
Sandy Mitsou finished 2-0 at the Florence Invitational.
photo courtesy of Lenoir-Rhyne Athletics

Lenoir-Rhyne Women’s Tennis Team Opens Season at Florence Invitational

The Lenoir-Rhyne Women’s Tennis Team posted a 2-1 record in three matches at the City of Florence Invitational on Friday and Saturday. The Bears dropped the first match but rebounded to post a pair of wins on Saturday over Conference Carolinas opponents.

On Friday, LR dropped a 4-1 decision to Lander in the first round. Due to weather delaying the start of the tournament by an hour, the teams didn’t play doubles and jumped right into singles play with Lander gaining the upper hand. The Bearcats won in each spot except No. 1 singles where Evgeniya Pugina earned a tough 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 victory which was the lone win of the night for LR.

Saturday proved to be much more fruitful for LR as they defated Barton 4-1 and Mount Olive 4-3. Once again, doubles play was skipped and LR and Barton only played singles. The Bears dominated with wins at No. 2 by Alicia Wahlberg (6-4, 6-4) and No. 3 by Lucy Whelan (6-3, 6-1). Natalie Lutz (6-4, 6-0) and Sandy Mitsou (7-5, 7-5) earned dubs in the number 4 and six spots and Pugina was one set away from claiming the match at No. 1 singles where she was up 7-5, 3-6, 5-0 but didn’t finish as the Bears clinched the win.

Playing doubles for the first time in the tournament in the finale, LR grabbed a crucial point. After dropping a 6-5 decision in first doubles, Pugina and Lutz won #2 by a 6-1 score and Jessica Fuchs and Mitsou won #3 6-4. Pugina would win in straight sets in first singles 6-3 and 6-4 and Whelan won in the number three spot 6-2 and 7-6. Mitsou won in number 5 in straight sets 6-1, 6-1 as Mount Olive took 2,4 and 6 singles but fell 4-3.

The Bears return to action with a rematch against Mount Olive in Hickory on Saturday. It will be the home opener for the Bears at 2 p.m.