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Armstrong claims ninth title

2015 Division II Women’s Tennis

Sean McCaffrey knew he had a tradition to protect when he became coach of the Armstrong State University women’s tennis team before the 2014-15 season. Though winning his first NCAA conference championship was exciting and coaching in his first NCAA tournament a thrill, those achievements were never the ultimate goal for his new team. Winners of eight prior national championships, the Pirates yearned for more.

“Armstrong State’s former head coach, Simon Earnshaw, now at North Carolina State, laid the groundwork, and I was certainly a benefactor of the amazing momentum he helped create,” said McCaffrey, the former coach of Wright State University. “I dedicated myself to continuing that excellence.”

This season, excellence came in pairs. McCaffrey said the women made a “conscious effort” to focus heavily on doubles in practice and in competition. Their talented doubles teams could often be counted on to provide Armstrong with an early lead heading into singles play. The women finished the year 98-4 in doubles dual matches. “That took such pressure off the rest of the squad,” McCaffrey said.

That strategy paid off in full on May 16 in Surprise, Arizona, when Armstrong faced defending champion Barry University in the national championship match for the second straight year. At No. 1 doubles, the Pirates’ top-ranked pair of Lena Lutzeier and Clara Perez defeated Barry’s Sonja Larsen and Ana Pain 8-6. Nicole Fossa Huergo and Carolina Prats-Millan handed Armstrong another point with a win at No. 2 doubles, contributing to a 2-1 lead after doubles play. When the dust settled, the Pirates logged five points to Barry’s two, claiming their ninth title – and ensuring that the tradition continued.

The Results
2015 Division II Women’s Tennis

TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP
Armstrong 5, Barry 2

TEAM SEMIFINALS
Barry 5, BYU-Hawaii 0
Armstrong 5, Southwest Baptist 1

ELITE 89 HONOREE
Linda Fritschken, Barry

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