Sarah Evans' freshman season at Wofford came to an end Wednesday against Appalachian State in the first round of the Southern Conference women's tennis tournament at the Champions Club.
The Chattanooga native and four-time state champion at GPS had a few moments of joy after she rallied from a set down to win her No. 3 singles match. That tied the team score at 3-all, but soon after the Mountaineers won the deciding match to advance with a 4-3 win.
"I knew that I had to win my match or else it was over, so I just played every single point as hard as I could," said Evans, who beat Jessica Thaggard, 3-6, 6-2, 6-3.
Evans' mother, Karen, sporting a black Wofford T-shirt, watched the match intently from just outside the court. She said afterward that she was believed her daughter would win, even after losing the first set.
"I felt confident that she would come back," she said. "She's usually pretty good at doing that."
Appalachian State, the No. 8 seed, led the ninth-seeded Terriers 3-2 as Evans and Thaggard battled in the third set. Meanwhile, at No. 2 singles, Wofford's Haley Baird and ASU's Jennifer Ansari were also in the third set.
"I was trying to see what was going on over there, but I had to focus on my match, too," Evans said. "I just told myself to worry about my court."
Splitting time between the No. 3 and No. 4 spots in the singles lineup, Evans finished her first collegiate season with a record of 16-8, going 8-4 at each position.
Wofford coach Katie Hangstefer, another local standout who played at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, said Evans improved in a lot of areas during her freshman season. Her mental toughness is one area in particular and that was on display Wednesday, Hangstefer said.
"She definitely had to get tough out there to win that one," she said. "She's had a great first year. She won 16 matches as a freshman, and that's really good."
Like Evans, Hangstefer was hoping her trip home would last a little longer. Another Hangstefer will be in action today, Katie's younger sister Emily, who is a junior at UTC. The fifth-seeded Lady Mocs take on No. 4 Samford at 8:30 a.m.
Contact John Frierson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6268. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/mocsbeatCTFP.