LOOKOUT MOUNTAIN -- History was made again by the Covenant women's tennis program in 2017. The Lady Scots completed a perfect run through the USA South West Division to capture the program's first conference regular season championship, while players set season and career records.
Covenant finished the year with a 14-8 overall record, including a 7-0 mark in the USA South. The team dropped just five points all year in conference play en route to a division title and a No. 1 seed in the conference tournament. Covenant advanced to the championship round of the USA South Tournament before falling to Methodist.
The two seniors on the team, Gracie Smith and Claire Luger, left their marks on the program's record book. Smith tied her own single-season wins record in singles play by compiling a 16-4 record, while ending her career with the all-time singles wins mark with 53. Luger, who earned USA South All-West Division second team honors, finished second all-time in singles wins with 39.
Luger and Smith combined for 15 doubles wins, playing together at the No. 2 spot all year, to set a single-season program record. For their careers, Smith and Luger set the program record for doubles wins with 52 apiece.
The team featured depth in the lineup as six different players recorded at least nine singles wins on the year. Freshman Esther Eddy, a two-time USA South Rookie of the Week honoree, was second on the team in singles wins with 14, while junior Aly Hall and Luger had 10 apiece. Hall was named a first team All-USA South and All-West Division honoree after going 10-6 at the top singles spot and collecting 10 wins at the top doubles flight.
Juniors Annie DeLuca and Jennie Spielman had nine singles wins each on the year and then combined for a 13-7 mark as playing partners at No. 3 doubles. DeLuca earned second team All-USA South West Division accolades.
Covenant enjoyed a 2-0 start to the season with wins over Milligan and Snead State in the fall. The start got the Lady Scots regionally ranked by the ITA at No. 18. The ranking marked the second straight year Covenant has been regionally ranked.
In the spring portion, the Lady Scots kicked it into gear in the month of March. After dropping five straight matches in February and early March, Covenant won six of its next seven contests and went 12-2 from March 4-April 14.
Included in that stretch was more dominance over the USA South. After winning the final 10 conference regular season matches in 2016, Covenant won all seven of its regular season league contests in 2017 to run the win streak to 17. Covenant tallied four shutouts in its seven conference matches this season. Since joining the USA South in 2013-14, the Lady Scots are 37-6 against the conference during the regular season.
Entering the USA South Tournament as the No. 1 seed from the West Division, the Lady Scots cruised past Averett in the quarterfinals and then edged past North Carolina Wesleyan, 5-4, in the semifinals. The season came to an end in the championship round as Methodist, the only USA South team to beat Covenant in the last two seasons, defeated the Lady Scots 8-1.
In addition to the postseason awards, Luger earned USA South All-Tournament honors. Eddy was Covenant's representative on the USA South All-Sportsmanship team.
Aly Hall - first team
USA South All-Sportsmanship
USA South All-Tournament
USA South Player of the Week
Aly Hall - March 20
USA South Rookie of the Week
Esther Eddy - March 27 and April 10
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