September 15, 2013

Bears Women's Tennis shows successful fall opening weekend

Drake Invitational Results

Collin Boyles

DES MOINES, Iowa -- A second overall finish by a freshman and three consolation bracket wins highlighted the women's tennis team's fall opening tournament at the Drake Fall Invitational in Des Moines, Iowa. The action started on Friday, Sept. 13 and finished early Sunday, Sept. 15.

"This is one of the better showings we've had at the Drake tournament," said head coach Brenda Vlasak. "Everyone across the board had success. It was a pleasing performance overall. We've definitley made a statement in our first tournament, we're walking away proud and we know we have some things to work on."

Marissa Baca came into the weekend with something to prove as a freshman, and did just that in the 'C' Singles Flight. The Oro Valley, Ariz., native opened action on Friday against Iowa State's Caroline Anderson. Baca won in straight sets 6-3, 6-3 to move on and face Mikaela Bennett of North Dakota. The second match would be one of the toughest for Baca, as she pulled out the win 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (10). She followed the win with another three-set win against North Dakota's Stephanie Petsis 3-6, 6-2, 6-4. After reaching the finals against Drake's Jordan Eggleston, Baca's win-streak would end. Eggleston was able to top Baca in straight sets 6-3, 6-3 to give the Bear a second-place finish.

Senior Adriana Nieto stumbled initially at the tournament in 'A' Flight Singles action. Nell Boyd of Drake was able to take the first match 6-1, 6-2. After the loss, though, Nieto did not lose another match the rest of the way. She pushed her way past Callie Ronkowski of North Dakota 7-5, 6-3. Nieto then took down Ronkowski's teammate Stephanie Petsis in three sets 6-4, 2-6, 10-3. In the final match of the consolation bracket, Nieto and Drake's Maddie Johnson went to three sets. Nieto dropped the first set 3-6 but followed with two wins 6-2, 10-5 to take the consolation title.

Sophomore Hilary Walters-West followed a similar path as Nieto in a trip to the 'B' Flight Singles consolation title. The Simi Valley, Calif., native began her day with a straight-set loss to Iowa State's Meghan Cassens 6-1, 6-1. As Nieto did, Walters-West would win her next three matches. The first two came against Nebraska-Omaha's Kenzie Hill 6-1, 6-3 and Lindsay Weideman 6-4, 6-2. The final win to secure the B consolation bracket title came as a forfeit.

Showing up big in 'B' Flight Doubles action on the weekend was the freshmen duo of Baca and Courtney Schulte. The Bears pair lost their first match 8-7 to Northern Iowa's Jordyn Kearney and Krissy Lankelma. Baca and Schulte went on to take down Sam Anderson and Simone Hussussian of Creighton 8-4 and Allison Johnson and Lindsay Weidman of Nebraska-Omaha 8-1. The freshmen were awarded the consolation title after a forfeit from Amanda Noonan and Analese Snyder of Creighton.

Senior Stephanie Catlin and junior Chrissie Hoolahan faced similar fates as both took part in the A Flight Singles bracket. Both started their competition well but finished with crushed title hopes.

Catlin first took down Hylan Miller of Nebraska-Omaha in straight sets 6-3, 7-5. Ksenia Pronina of Iowa State, who would go on to win the bracket title, took down Catlin 6-2, 6-2 in the second round.

Hoolahan sent Petsis to the consolation round, who would later lose to Nieto, with a 6-4, 6-3 win. The England native would follow the win with a loss to Klavdija Rebol of Drake 6-3, 6-2.

Junior Taylor Schumacher and freshman Beth Coton also ended with similar results in the 'B' Flight Singles bracket.

Schumacher wasn't able to gain any momentum during the weekend after losing her first two matches. She first was sent to the consolation bracket by Lea Kozulic of Drake 6-1, 6-0. Schumacher then fell again to Molly Matricardi of Nebraska-Omaha 6-3, 6-3.

Coton also fell in both matches, 7-5, 4-6, 6-4 to Ana Gasparovic of Iowa State and 1-6, 7-5, 10-6 to Amanda Noonan of Creighton in the consolation bracket.

Freshman Laura Wehner served a good showing in the 'C' Flight Singles bracket while advancing to the third round, but would fall to the eventual title winner. She opened her tournament while taking down Jacqueline Baude of Nebraska-Omaha 6-3, 6-2 and Simone Hussussian of Creighton 6-0, 6-1. Wehner then fell to Drake's Jordan Eggelston 6-0, 6-0 who defeated Baca in the title match.

Fellow freshman Schulte went 1-1 while nearly earning a shoutout in both sets of the first round. She first took down Karlin Naslund of Creighton 6-0, 6-2 before losing to the eventual 'C' Flight title-winner, Eggleston, 6-4, 6-1.

Taking part in 'A' Flight Doubles action was the pair of Catlin and Coton. The duo was defeated in the opening round by Boyd and Eggleston of Drake 8-4.

The 'B' Flight Doubles pairs for the Bears included Nieto and Walters-West, Hoolahan and Wehner, and Schumacher with Drake's Amanda Dick.

Hoolahan and Wehner, and Nieto and Walters-West won their initial matches to advance. Hoolahan and Wehner defeated a North Dakota duo 8-3 while Nieto and Walters-West beat a Nebraska-Omaha pair 8-5. Both fell in the next round to finish their weekend.

Schumacher and Dick were sent to the consolation bracket with a 8-2 loss in the opening round. The duo again lost in the consolation bracket 8-7 (4).

"It was a successful weekend," said Vlasak. "I'm proud of the team's performance. The girls went into their matches confident and proud."

The Bears now have 12 days until their next tournament at the USAFA Invitational in Colorado Springs, Colo. Vlasak says that over the next week and a half, though, the focus is not to improve on skills.

"Consistency is a big thing we're working on," said Vlasak "and something we will continue to work on. These girls work hard so they know we're going to have to dig in and practice and continue to get better."