(DAHLONEGA) – The No. 3 University of North Georgia women’s tennis team is set to host the 2024 NCAA Women’s Tennis Southeast Region #1 Tournament this weekend at the UNG Tennis Complex at Yahoola Creek. This year marks UNG’s second consecutive season hosting part of the Southeast Regional, and first season hosting as the top seed.

After going 22-1 in the regular season and winning the Peach Belt Conference regular season and tournament championships, the Nighthawks now need just one win to advance to the 2024 NCAA Division II Tennis Championships on May 20-25 at Sanlando Park in Altamonte Springs, Fla. as part of the NCAA Division II Spring Festival hosted by Rollins College and the Greater Orlando Sports Commission.

Only seven teams were selected to the Southeast Regional from the NCAA. UNG serves as the host site for three teams as fourth-seeded Columbus State and fifth-seeded Erskine will make the trip to Dahlonega for postseason play.

The other four teams in the region will compete down in St. Augustine, Fla. as second-seeded Flagler hosts the Southeast Region 2 Tournament.

As the top seed with a first round bye, the Nighthawks will face the winner of CSU and Erskine on Saturday, May 11. The Cougars and Fleet play tomorrow, Friday, May 10 at 1 p.m. to decide who gets a shot at UNG.

The Nighthawks have already faced both opponents once this season.

Back in February, UNG took down Erskine 6-1 on the road in Due West, S.C. Should they meet again Saturday, it will mark the 11th meeting in program history between the schools. They share an even 5-5 record against each other thus far, but everything has gone the Nighthawks way in recent history.

The Fleet won the first five matchups from 2007 to 2014. Since then, UNG has won five straight, three of which have been on the road. This also includes a 4-0 win in the opening round of the 2021 NCAA Southeast Regional.

A win for Erskine would mark the program’s first ever appearance in the women’s tennis NCAA Division II Championships.

While the Nighthawks are prepared to take down whoever stands in their way, perhaps they’re eyeing some revenge against Columbus State. In their only meeting earlier this season, UNG hit the road and traveled to Columbus, Ga. to take on the Cougars back in mid-April. It was there that CSU handed the Nighthawks their only loss of the season, a gut-wrenching 4-3 defeat.

The win helped the Cougars finish in a three-way tie with UNG and Flagler for first place in the PBC regular season. CSU was bounced in the PBC Tournament before the Nighthawks got a shot at revenge.

Should UNG get the last laugh against the Cougars this season, it will mark only the program’s third win in 23 tries against CSU. The Nighthawks went 15 years without a victory over the Cougars, but since 2021 they’ve gone 2-3 against the in-state rival.

Junior Angelina Linnikova, who picked up a win in the #1 singles match against CSU, has led the way this season for UNG. She currently ranks as the No. 10 women’s singles player in the country per the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA). She’s already posted a 19-2 singles record this season which currently stands as the best singles season in program history with a .905 winning percentage.

As a team, the Nighthawks have already secured the best season in program history with an astonishing .957 winning percentage. Their 22 wins has tied the all-time program record for most wins in a season, dating back to 2019.

A 23rd win would advance UNG to the NCAA Division II Women’s Tennis Championships for the third time in program history and first time since 2019.