On her first match point Saturday, her first chance to clinch the Southern Conference women’s tennis tournament championship, Kinsey Casey double faulted.
The College of Charleston senior, facing Furman’s Alex Christ at No. 4 singles at the Champions Club, closed out her match and the top-seeded Cougars’ third straight SoCon tournament title on the next point.
In memorable fashion.
After a long rally at 6-5 in the second-set tiebreaker, Casey came to the net and won the match with a backhand volley winner, giving Charleston a 4-3 win over the third-seeded Paladins.
As she was hitting the shot she suffered a cramp in her right thigh, and then, she said, her toes cramped. Casey dropped to the court in pain, temporarily unable to celebrate her 6-3, 7-6 (7-5) win or another trip to the NCAA tournament.
“It was so weird,” Casey said. “I don’t know what it was because I’m not cramping now [after the trophy presentation] and I wasn’t cramping for the entire match.
“I honestly think it was just that point because I knew that it was such a huge point.”
Charleston beat Furman 4-0 in last year’s final — no team other than Furman or Charleston has won the SoCon women’s tournament since 1997 — but Cougars coach Angelo Anastopoulo said he expected a tight match Saturday.
“It’s as hard as it’s ever been to win this one this year,” Anastpoulo said.
“Furman really showed a lot of character in the fight that they had. ... With Casey cramping up, we may have won that in the nick of time.”
The Cougars went 10-0 in the SoCon during the regular season and will head into the NCAA tournament on a 14-match win streak.
John Frierson is in his seventh year at the Times Free Press and seventh year covering University of Tennessee at Chattanooga athletics. The bulk of his time is spent covering Mocs football, but he also writes about women’s basketball and the big-picture issues and news involving the athletic department. A native of Athens, Ga., John grew up a few hundred yards from the University of Georgia campus. Instead of becoming a Bulldog he attended Ole ...