Mountaineers fall short despite tough play

Appalachian+State+senior+Clare+Cox+prepares+for+a+hit+during+her+singles+match+on+Saturday.+The+Mountaineers+fell+6-1+in+their+season+opener+against+College+of+Charleston%2C+dropping+them+to+0-2+on+the+season.++Photo+courtesy+of+Appalachian+State+Athletics%2FDC+Mayo

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Appalachian State senior Clare Cox prepares for a hit during her singles match on Saturday. The Mountaineers fell 6-1 in their season opener against College of Charleston, dropping them to 0-2 on the season. Photo courtesy of Appalachian State Athletics/DC Mayo

Jason Huber

App State women’s tennis (0-2) fell 6-1 against the College of Charleston (1-0) in their home opener Saturday afternoon. App State has not won a home opener since defeating UNC-Asheville during the 2013-14 season.

In the best of three double matches, No. 3 duo senior Mackenzie LaSure and freshman Andre Remi fell to Charleston’s No. 3 Sarah Jane Jones and Sarah Zschunke, 6-2. The match was Remi’s first playing time of the season after not competing last week in the season opener against UNC.

No.2 duos sophomore Melissa Machado and junior Megan Mullen fell to Charleston’s Katherine Schofield and Mara Argyriou, 6-3. This clinched the doubles point for College of Charleston to give them a 1-0 lead on App State.

While the doubles were already decided, no.1 duo of senior Clare Cox and freshman Heidi Swope put up a hard fought battle that went on to a tiebreaker, which was back and forth all the way to a 9-9 score. Charleston then went on to get the next two points, winning the tiebreaker 11-9 and giving them a 7-6 doubles win.

College of Charleston won all three double matches.

A long doubles match for Cox did not seem to cause any fatigue heading into singles play.

“I think the double match was a good warmup,” Cox said. “I think I played my best. I like to get long games in before singles.”

Down 1-0 in the box score heading into singles play, head coach Colin Crothers stuck to his new order with LaSure at the No. 3 spot and Machado at the No. 2.

The matchup between Machado and College of Charleston’s Katherine Schofield finished first with Machado being defeated 6-2 and 6-3 to give the Cougars a 2-0 lead over App State.

Cox was still coming off of her long double match but started off strong in her matchup against Liza Fieldsend. Cox took the first set 6-3 but fell in the second set 6-0 to set up a third round.

“I felt I played pretty well,” Cox said. “She hit really hard and it was hard for me to get the ball back in play where I wanted it to go when I was trying to get it back over the net.”

Cox fell in the tie breaking set once again 6-3 to give Charleston a 3-0 lead over the Mountaineers.

LaSure fell in her first set 6-0 but put up a hard fight in the second set before falling 7-5 to Brooke McAmis, ultimately clinching the win for Charleston, putting them up 4-0.

“January is super tough,” Crothers said. “Our schedule is a really tough schedule. College of Charleston has always been really good. We gave them a good match today.”

The rest of the singles were played out with No. 4 junior Gabrielle Wreder falling 6-2 and 6-4 and No. 5, Swope, falling 6-1 and 6-0 to Mara Argyriou to put the Mountaineers behind 6-0.

Freshman Taylor Bygrave, who was playing her first collegiate match at the number six spot, helped the Mountaineers finish the day on a positive note with a hard fought matchup against Diana Colen. Bygrave took the first set 6-1 and tied the second 6-6 to go into a tiebreaker.

“I tried to make the rallies go longer and make it a bit more competitive,” Bygrave said.

Bygrave ultimately won the tiebreaker and her first collegiate match 6-3, clinching a 7-6 win and giving App State their only point of the day.

“It was a good match,” Bygraves said. “It was tough but a good win. I hit more balls inside and I was a lot more consistent this week.”

Now with a 0-2 record and a home match against East Carolina next week, Crothers has confidence heading deeper into the season. “In this match we were competitive throughout. I was really happy about how they competed.”

App State faces off against East Carolina this Saturday with first serve at 10 a.m.

Story by: Jason Huber, Sports Reporter