An impressive season came to an end for Molly Worden at the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) women’s tennis tournament in Altamonte Springs, Florida.
The-21-year-old from Fishbourne is in the third year of her tennis scholarship at Northeastern State University (NSU) in Oklahoma. Worden and her NSU teammates were knocked out in the last 16 of the NCAAs by 2016 national champions Armstrong State University from Georgia.
Worden said, “We were disappointed after losing to Armstrong, but they’ve won the NCAAs three times in last five years.”
The NCAAs are the highpoint of the university sports calendar in the States. Teams make it to these finals only after competing in separate conferences, then winning post-season championships to qualify for regional events that send regional champions to compete against the best teams in the country.
Worden’s team won the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association (MIAA) conference in the regular tennis season. This conference includes teams from universities located in mid-west states such as Oklahoma, Missouri and Kansas.
The women then won the post-season championship tournament for the first time in Northeastern State University history, beating Southwest Baptist in the finals in Lincoln, Nebraska to qualify for the regional stage of the NCAAs where a close victory over UCO earned them a spot at the nationals as the champions of the central region of America.
Worden said: “We were all very excited to win the MIAA championships for the first time ever. We breezed past Lindenwood and then had a battle with University of Nebraska Kearney in the semis.
“To beat Southwest Baptist in the final was great. Central Oklahoma gave us a tough match in the regionals but we got through that too.
“This has certainly been our most successful season in my time at NSU. I’m looking forward to what we might achieve in my senior year.”
Worden got to the semi-finals in the doubles at the Intercollegiate Tennis Association national tournament back in the autumn in Arizona.
She has picked up four conference player of the week accolades this season and two NSU athlete of the weeks awards.
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