BOURBONNAIS, Ill. – The Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC) Tournament women’s tennis finals on Saturday, April 27 looked a lot like it did a year ago. It pitted No. 14 Olivet Nazarene University against RV Robert Morris University, winner earns automatic berth to the 33rd Annual NAIA National Championships in Mobile, Ala. on May 14-18, 2013. This time, however, the Tigers were the top seed, having captured the regular season title. And this time, the Tigers walked away with the victory, downing the Eagles 5-1.
The Tigers came out of doubles play up 2-1.In the last home match of their careers, seniors Taylor Stephens (Ada, Mich.) and Ashlan Allison (Anderson, Ind.) won at #2 doubles 8-1. Junior Lindsey Peterson (New Castle, Penn.) and freshman Charisma King (Bourbonnais, Ill.) came out on top of a battle in #3 doubles, winning 8-6.
Olivet (15-6) went up 3-1 when King won at #5 singles when Maria Belloin withdrew due to injury after being down 4-1. Freshman Clara Ruegsegger (Greenfield, Ind.) then downed Nicole Mitchel 6-1, 6-1 right before Stephens finished off Steffy Paez 6-1, 6-1 to clinch the match.
"I am really excited for our team," said head coach Andy Gibbs. "Just a couple of weeks ago we were 8-6 and dealing with some injuries. They really worked hard down the stretch, they wanted this."
Olivet will begin preparing for a double national tournament road trip, with the bus pulling out right after graduation on Saturday, May 4. The Tigers will first play in the National Christian College Athletic Association Championships May 7-10 at the Mobile Tennis Club in Mobile, Alabama. Next up will be the 33rd Annual NAIA Woman’s Tennis National Championship on May 14-18 also at the Mobile Tennis Center.