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UNCW captures second straight CAA women's golf crown - tennis falls short & baseball sweeps

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uncw_photo_courtesy_nikki_desantis.jpg

SOUTHPORT, NC (UNCW sports release) - The UNCW women's golf team carded a team total 304 in the final round Sunday to capture the 2012 CAA Women's Golf Championship on the Reserve Course of the St. James Plantation.

The Seahawks, who defended their 2011 title with the victory and picked up the program's fourth conference tournament crown in six seasons, also received the league's automatic berth in the 2012 CAA Women's Golf Regionals, scheduled for May 10-12 in State College, Pa. (East), Columbus, Ohio (Central) and Erie, Colo. (West). The Seahawks will learn their destination during the NCAA's selection announcement on Monday, April 30.

"We are excited that we were able to capture our second straight Colonial Athletic Association Championship today," said UNCW Head Coach Cindy Ho. "The girls played well all weekend and were able to excel under pressure-filled circumstances today in holding off a very talented James Madison squad. I am extremely proud of them and I am also very happy that we will get an opportunity to continue playing and represent the CAA in the NCAA Women's Golf Regionals."

UNCW finished with a three-round total of 909 (300-305-304), the third lowest 54-hole team score in tournament history. James Madison finished four strokes back of the Seahawks in second with a 54-hole total of 913 (294-318-301). Georgia State claimed third with a 310-306-302=918 scorecard.

Senior Sofia Hagsund posted a final round 74 to claim second place with a five-over-par finish of 221 (72-75-74). Sophomore Lori Beth Adams carded an even-par 72 Sunday and ended the tournament one shot back of Hagsund in third with a 222 (74-76-72) scorecard. Sophomore Laverry Kumar recorded a tournament total of 229 (76-77-76=229) to earn a share of ninth place while senior Alei Mitchell (83-77-82=242/T-30th) and sophomore Jeanne Metivier (78-84-85=247/T-36th) completed UNCW's entry.
Georgia State's Charlotte Lorentzen took home the individual title with a one-over-par tournament total of 217 (75-69-73). Old Dominion's Elizabeth Haycock (72-78-73=223) finished fourth and James Madison's Nicole Sakamoto (71-76-77=224) placed fifth.

(golf photo courtesy Nikki DeSantis
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NORFOLK, VA (UNCW sports release) - Top-seeded and 37th-ranked VCU shut out third-seeded and No. 42 UNCW, 4-0, early Sunday to capture the 2012 Virginia 529 Colonial Athletic Association Men's Tennis Championship.

Inclement weather forced the two teams inside at the Folkes-Stevens Tennis Center on Old Dominion's campus and the change was an adjustment for the Seahawks.

"We certainly tip our hats and congratulate VCU for playing a great match and having a great season," said fifth-year UNCW head coach Mait DuBois. "It's disappointing that we prepared for this day the entire year and played on a surface we haven't played on all year.

"It was an unlucky break and, hopefully, we can get an at-large bid and have another chance to lace them up."

The Rams, who won all three of their matches in the four-day event by 4-0 scores, captured their 13th CAA crown in 17 years and avenged a 4-3 loss to the Seahawks in last year's final. UNCW and VCU have played for the hardware three of the last four years, with the Seahawks winning in 2009 and 2011.

The Seahawks now stand 17-6 and hope to land an at-large berth into the NCAA Regionals. Coach Mait DuBois and his team have compiled a 6-5 mark against 11 nationally-ranked opponents this season. The list includes victories over N.C. State (#21), Memphis (#33), South Florida (#45) and Georgia State (#55).

VCU started its path to the title in doubles play on Sunday with wins at No. 1 and No. 2 doubles. The top tandem of Alexis Heugas and Antoine Baroz, ranked 70th nationally, beat No. 85 Chris Cooprider and Kosta Blank, 8-4. The No. 2 duo of Filip Svensson and Max Wennakoski then downed UNCW's Michael Reilly and Sam Williams, 8-4.

The Rams then closed out the match with three straight-set victories in singles. Wennakoski cruised at No. 2 with a 6-1, 6-2 triumph over Cooprider and Baroz followed by defeating Pedro Mol, 6-3, 6-4, at No. 5. The decisive point came at No. 6 when the Rams' Jaime Vazquez stopped Reilly, 6-4, 6-1.

UNCW advanced to its third championship match with victories over No. 6 William & Mary and No. 2 Georgia State.

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BROOKLINE, MA (UNCW sports release) - Thomas Pope belted his first home run of the season and knocked in four runs as UNCW completed a Colonial Athletic Association series sweep of Northeastern with a 10-2 win on Sunday at Friedman Diamond.

The Seahawks upped their record to 24-16 overall and remained in the conference lead with a 15-3 mark. The Huskies dropped their fifth straight outing and dropped to 14-21 and 4-14.

Trailing 2-1 in the sixth, Pope delivered a three-run blast to left that gave UNCW a lead it wouldn't relinquish. UNCW tagged the NU bullpen for six runs in the final three innings.

Jordan Ramsey (3-2) earned the win, going five innings and allowing just two runs on four hits and finishing with five strikeouts. Ricky Holden earned his second save of the season with three innings of shutout baseball.

NU starter Dylan Maki (1-4) held the Seahawks in check until that three-run sixth inning. Make allowed four runs on nine hits in six innings of work.

Andrew Cain was one of six Seahawks with at least two hits, finishing 2-for-4 with three runs scored and three driven in. He also swiped his 18th base of the season as UNCW stole four more bases on the weekend. The Seahawks finished with 16 swipes on the series.

Every starter had a hit for the Seahawks as UNCW outhit its host, 16-7.

Holden lowered his league-leading ERA to 1.47 while the Seahawks improved to 19-2 when scoring at least six runs in a game.

The Seahawks host Elon on April 25 for a 6:30 p.m. start.

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NORFOLK, VA (UNCW sports release) - Third-seeded Georgia State is returning to the CAA women's championship match after turning back No. 2-seeded UNCW, 4-2, in the semifinals of the 2012 Virginia 529 Colonial Athletic Association Women's Tennis Championships late Saturday.

The Seahawks, who closed out the season at 15-7, were making their second straight appearance in the CAA semifinals and came up just shy of reaching the finals after a close match at Old Dominion's Folkes-Stevens Tennis Complex.

"First of all, I want to tip my hat to Georgia State because they were the team that played better for just a few minutes longer than we did," said 12th-year UNCW head coach Jenny Garrity. "It was a four-hour battle that came down to a few points. We came to play for a championship and I'm so proud of the belief that this team played with all year.

"I know our players are heartbroken, but as I told them after the match, they should have a lot of pride in the really important things - their heart, their effort and their teamwork. We did not play as well as we have the last month of the season and Georgia State had a lot to do with that."

The Seahawks picked up the doubles point by claiming the last two matches off the court early in the match. GSU's top team of Abigail Tere-Apisah and Tereza Lerova coasted past Christina Lee and Alyssa Ritchie, 8-1, but UNCW answered with an 8-5 decision from Miller Hales and Kelly Cameron over Masa Grgan and Chaimaa Roudami at the No. 3 slot.

UNCW's No. 2 team of Olga Blank and Angie Sekely then clinched the doubles point with a narrow 9-8 (5) win against Whitney Byrd and Maryna Kozachenko. Blank and Sekely bolted to a 6-1 lead in the tie-breaker before GSU scored four straight points to slice the deficit to 6-5, only to have the Seahawk pair close out the match.

In singles, Byrd swept past Sekely at No. 3 singles, 6-2, 6-4, to knot the score at 1-all and Tere-Apisah, the CAA Player-of-the-Year, gave the Panthers a 2-1 advantage by slipping past Lee, 7-5, 6-4, at the top of the lineup.

The Panthers extended the margin to 3-1 with a 7-6 (5), 6-0, victory by Roudami over Christina Riley at No. 6 singles before Ritchie picked up a 6-2, 6-3, straight set victory against Kozachenko at the No. 4 position.

Grgan then clinched the match with a 7-6 (8), 6-3 decision over Cameron at No. 5 singles.

"The part we'll take from today is we're getting so much closer to a championship and the NCAA's," Garrity added. "That is the next step, and I absolutely know we will get there. Christina (Lee) and Casey (Dashiell) have done an amazing job at leading this team by example all year and they are a big part of why we had the season we did. They have represented UNCW, and especially our program, with class and excellence all four years.

"We would really like to thank the men's team for coming back to the tennis center after their thrilling match to try and pull us through. They gave us a real boost of energy during the doubles point. I would also like to thank all of the parents who were amazing this weekend in their support of all our players, and we loved having them with us."

Lee, a four-year standout from Charlotte, echoed Garrity's sentiments following the close match. "I'm proud that we heard the Seahawk chant throughout the facility all day today during our match and how my teammates fought with so much heart and belief. Even though it didn't turn out the way we hoped and expected, the team should take pride at the level we competed all afternoon."

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