The Clark Atlanta University (CAU) women’s team has completed a perfect 2019 season in the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC), capping a 12-0 regular season mark with the SIAC women’s tennis championship after they defeated Tuskegee University in mid-April in Peachtree City, Georgia.
It’s the first time the Lady Panthers have won the SIAC tournament title since 2011 when they defeated Fort Valley State.
“Amazing,” said CAU Head Coach Tara Turner afterwards. “They fought. …Through the injuries, the tears … they fought.”
A day after defeating three-time defending champions Benedict College on the tourney’s first day, Clark Atlanta fell behind early, dropping two of three doubles matches to Tuskegee, a team that CAU defeated 4-1 and 4-3 nine days prior at CAU Tennis Courts.
But the Lady Panthers were able to dominate singles competition, capped by a rousing win by a hobbling Madison Majors to clinch the championship.
“It was up and down,” Turner said of the day. “We got very nervous, but we pulled it out. Not giving up and then were able to take singles.”
As Majors’ solidified her win, her Lady Panther teammates rushed onto the court as Majors pumped her fist and tears of joy fell from her eyes. Majors’ performance earned her the Tournament Most Valuable Player award, while Turner was named Coach of the Tournament. Singles players Akilah Parker, Keyvona Moultrie and Majors were named to the singles All Tournament team, while Majors and Vanessa Eusebio were named to the doubles All-Tournament squad.
Turner, a former Lady Panther tennis player, dedicated the victory to her former coach. “This is very exciting for me because this is honoring my coach, Coach Oliver McClendon, and his legacy,” she said.
The Lady Panthers now turn their focus to the NCAA Division II Women’s Tennis Tournament as they’ve earned the SIAC’s automatic bid. They await the NCAA’s announcement on where they will play and who will be their opponent.