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Paladins To Open SoCon Season Versus Georgia Southern Saturday

Alex Moreno-Kaste
Alex Moreno-Kaste

GREENVILLE, S.C. -- The Furman women's tennis team will open the 2013 Southern Conference season Saturday when the Paladins entertain Georgia Southern at 11 a.m. at the Mickel Tennis Center.

The match marks  the 30th meeting between the two schools.  The Paladins won last year's meeting, 7-0, in Statesboro to take a 25-4 lead in the series.

The Paladins are looking for their 18th SoCon regular-season title this season.  Under the tenure of head coach Debbie Southern, now in her 29th year at Furman, the Paladins sport a .922 league winning percentage (201-17).  Furman put together a 100-match regular-season conference winning streak from 1998-2010.

Furman (1-5) is led by senior Lauren Kline, who ranks 110th nationally among all women's tennis singles players according to the latest Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) rankings.  

The Paladins dropped a 7-0 decision at Winthrop last Sunday.  Senior Lauren Kline and sophomore Alex Moreno-Kaste combined for an 8-5 win at number one doubles, and the Paladins forced a third-set or tiebreaker in four out of six singles matches.

Georgia Southern enters Saturday's match with a 2-5 record.  The Eagles opened the spring season with a 6-1 win over Presbyterian then fell to UAB and #68 Auburn before suffering a close 4-3 loss to Kennesaw State.  The team defeated Mercer, 6-1, and opened the SoCon season with a 6-1 loss at #72 College of Charleston.  Most recently, Troy defeated the Eagles, 6-1. 

Following Saturday's match, the Paladins hit the road for a Spring Break trip to California.  Furman will play at Cal Poly next Wednesday at 4:30 p.m. EST then travel to UC Santa Barbara Thursday at 5 p.m. EST.