College Sports

SCF women's tennis team places third at national tournament

The State College of Florida women's tennis team turned in the second-best finish in program history by placing third this week at the National Junior College Athletic Association tournament in Tucson, Ariz.

No. 6 singles player Casey O'Toole and the No. 2 doubles team of Natella Nabieva and Amiena Houston played for national titles Thursday but came up short. They settled for runner-up finishes.

The Manatees scored 35 points as a team, behind only defending champion ASA College (54) and Tyler Junior College (42). SCF's best finish came in 2012, when the Manatees came in second behind Tyler.

"We came into the tournament ranked third in the nation, so we upheld our ranking," first-year SCF head coach Clayton Taylor said. "There are always matches you could have won. If every match had gone exactly as I hoped it would, we could have finished second. Everybody competed really, really hard."

SCF singles players Miranda Talbert (No. 2), Houston (No. 4) and Mikala Lowrance (No. 5) advanced to the national semifinals before falling.

The Manatees finished the season 14-2, with one of the losses coming to an NCAA Division I team.

"We had a great season, an unbelievable season," Taylor said. "I had only six girls. We played through injuries. It was a magical year."