The UR women’s tennis team opened its season with a bang last Thursday, sweeping SUNY Brockport, 9-0. After only a week of practice, the young team was unsure how they would fare against an early opponent, yet senior and co-captain Tessa Baker was not worried.
“Although we lost a player to injury, we did not have any graduating seniors, and we gained freshmen who are already major assets to our team,” said Baker.
The Yellowjackets took a lead early in the game, winning all three doubles matches. At No. 1 doubles, sophomore Colleen Cross and freshman Jillian Grieshaber defeated Kayla Mizgala and Ashley Balling, 8-3.
UR’s veteran team of Baker and sophomore Alexa Perry defeated Jamie McDonald and Holly Acito 8-1 at No. 2 doubles. At No. 3 doubles, the freshmen duo of Brittany Bowman and Lauren Woodward, finished it up, defeating Angie Bermudez and Deb Hussey, 8-0.
The Yellowjackets proceeded to win the next six singles matches, winning five of them in straight sets. At No. 1, Cross defeated Balling, 7-5, 6-0. Perry defeated Mizgala, 6-2, 6-0, at No. 2 singles.
Grieshaber defeated Lauren Rector, 6-3, 6-1, at No. 3. At No. 4 singles, freshman Melinda Beckman defeated Allison Beatty, 6-1, 6-0. At No. 5 singles, senior Jaymi Della lost the first set to Brockport’s Alex Hinkley 6-2, but then came back to win the next set 6-0.
She sealed the win in the third set’s super tiebreaker, with a score of 10-5. Freshman Debbie Katz won at No. 6 singles, defeating Erin Doe, 6-2, 6-2.
Perry attributed the victory to the newest members of the team.
“We have a lot of new incoming talent that makes our team deeper than it was last year,” said Perry. “All of the freshmen are fun, hardworking girls who are great to have as teammates.”
“Considering it was their first collegiate match, the freshmen really stepped up to the plate, coming into the match with confidence and enthusiasm,” added Della.
Although the Yellowjackets’ main season is in the spring, there are still two important tournaments and one dual match remaining. Both captains believe that the team will definitely be ready to compete.
“After such a good win, we will have the confidence we need to handle the higher competition in our upcoming tournaments,” says Baker. “It is clear that we are really starting to come together as a team.”
The Yellowjackets face a variety of Division III opponents in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association Championships at William Smith College the following weekend.
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