Mobile, AL – The 15th-ranked University of the Cumberlands women's tennis team won the first four singles matches to win their NAIA National Tournament debut and defeat 18th-ranked Olivet Nazarene 5-4 Tuesday afternoon at the Mobile Tennis Center. With the win the Patriots improve to 16-8 overall and advance to the second round of the NAIA Championships.
Olivet Nazarene struck first as the 20th-ranked doubles team of Priscila Nunez and Dana Huck earned an 8-3 win at No. 1 doubles to take the early 1-0 lead. That Patriots evened the score at 1-1 as Denee Lyttle (FR/Zion, Illinois) and Luka Lyttle (FR/Zion, Illinois) teamed up for a 9-7 win at No. 3 singles. The duo improved to 12-6 overall and are 8-2 in their last ten matches. At No. 2 doubles Marian Bogajo (SO/Malaga, Spain) and Maria Ochoa (FR/Ceres, CA) battled #22 Victoria Monakhova and Faith Huckabee. The two teams traded points but the Tigers ultimately prevailed 8-6 to take a 2-1 lead into singles play.
Cumberlands came out strong in singles play led by Luka Lyttle who defeated Anna Kuechenberg 6-1, 6-2 at No. 5 singles to even the score 2-2. Bogajo and Isabella Dale (SR/Invercargill, New Zealand) followed with straight set wins at No. 6 and No. 1, respectfully, to give UC a 4-2 advantage. Denee Lyttle clinched the match for the Patriots with a 6-2, 7-5 win over Dana Huck at No. 4 singles. The Tigers cut the deficit to 5-3 with a win at No. 2 singles. At No. 3 singles Jaclyn Jewell (FR/London, KY) won the first set 6-2, before dropping the second set 6-4. Jewell fell in the third set 6-4 for the 5-4 final.
With Dale's 6-0, 6-3 win over 20th-ranked Priscila Nunez, she improves to 17-1 overall and 6-1 against ranked opponents on the season. Dale has won 11 straight singles matches, while Bogajo has won six straight, and Denee Lyttle is riding a four match win streak.
The Patriots will return to the court Wednesday, May 17, when they square off with second-ranked Lindsey Wilson in the second round. That match is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. EST. This will be the fourth meeting between these two schools this season with the Blue Raiders winning each of the first three.
For the latest and most up-to-date information on University of the Cumberlands Athletics, please visit www.cumberlandspatriots.com. Follow us on Twitter - @UC_Patriots, Instagram - @UCPatriots, YouTube – Cumberlands Patriots, and Facebook by searching University of the Cumberlands Athletics.