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Newberry wins first match of the season in nailbiter over Columbia College, 5-4

Head coach Catherine Dunagan nabs first career coaching win

Box Score

NEWBERRY, S.C. - The Newberry College women’s team won its first match of the season with a thrilling win over Columbia College, 5-4.

Newberry (1-2) battled back from a 4-2 deficit, winning the final three matches to knock off Columbia (0-4). The victory gave head coach Catherine Dunagan her first career win as a collegiate coach.

“I’m very proud of our girls for not giving up and fighting to the end,” said Dunagan. “We’re seeing all of our hard work begin to pay off and everyone’s contributing and coming together as a team. With that attitude, this win will be the first of many.”

With the teams tied at 4-4, the outcome of the match rested with Sierra Hoover (Duncan, S.C.) in her contest against Candace Mathews. Hoover dropped the first set, 3-6, but recovered with a 6-4 second set victory to set up a crucial third set win, 6-2. Hoover’s win marked the second of the season for the freshman and secured the victory for Newberry.

Newberry began the match in solid fashion in doubles competition. Autise Mortimer (Nassau, Bahamas) and Amanda Simmons (Saluda, S.C.) topped Lilit Martirosyan and Danielle Cupid, 8-6, while Rebekah Crouch (Saluda, S.C.) and Stephanie Matthews (Saluda, S.C.) defeated Keneisha Whittington and Ashley Chapman, 8-6. Lindsay Kyzer (Saluda, S.C.) and Sierra Hoover fell to Abbagayle Stevenson and Candace Mathews, 8-5, making the score 2-1 in favor of Newberry heading into singles action.

In singles play, Amanda Simmons dropped a match to Danielle Cupid (6-1, 6-2); Rebekah Crouch lost to Abbagayle Stevenson (6-1, 6-2) and Stephanie Matthews came up short against Keneisha Whittington (6-3, 6-1).

Newberry then trailed 4-2 and needed the final three members of the scarlet and gray to win. Autise Mortimer started Newberry off on the right foot at No. 1 flight with a win over Lilit Martirosyan (6-2, 7-5), giving the senior her second win of the season. Lindsay Kyzer followed up with a win over Ashley Chapman to tie the squad, 4-4. Kyzer pulled out a tough 7-6 win in the first set, winning the tiebreaker with a 7-5 score. Kyzer then finished off Chapman with a 6-4 second set victory to give Kyzer her first win of the season and hand the match to Hoover for the decisive contest.

Newberry will next head to Anderson, S.C., for a match against the Anderson Trojans on Thursday, February 25. The match is slated to begin at 3 p.m.

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