Last weekend proved to be a successful one for the women’s tennis team, as one member advanced to the quarterfinals and another advanced to the semifinals of the Intercollegiate Tennis Association Northeast Regional Championships hosted by William Smith College.

Junior Colleen Cross had the most successful run for the Yellowjackets since 2003, when Joanna Toke ’04 won first place in the tournament. Cross, seeded No. 10 out of 64 in the tournament, won her first match easily, crushing Brockport’s Erin McLaughlin 6-0, 6-2.

In the second round, Cross landed another smart win, defeating Kristin Tukel of Richard Stockton, 6-4, 6-2. Although the third round proved to be more difficult, Cross still came out on top, beating the No. 1 seeded Chelsea Rauck of William Smith, 7-6, 6-4. Rauck had won both of her first two matches in straight sets as well. Cross also had a successful quarterfinal match against Stefanie Harr of The College of New Jersey, winning 6-3, 7-5. Cross was eventually defeated in the semifinal round, on the third day of match-play, by the eventual runner-up of the tournament; No. 6 seededDana Bacalla of Stevens Institute of Technology. Cross made a valiant effort, bringing the match to three sets. The final score for this three-hour match was 6-4, 2-6, 6-3.

After only reaching the second round last year, Cross was very pleased with her performance in the tournament.

“The ITA Championship is a good tournament to see where you stand individually in the northeast region,” she said. “I surpassed my personal goal of reaching the quarterfinals, so I’m pleased with my results. I think that I showed that I can overcome some nerves and tightness and still do what I need to do to win matches. Last year I had a disappointing tournament, so I really wanted to make up for that this year.”

Indeed, Cross did compensate for her performance at last year’s tournament. This week, she was named the Liberty League’s Player of the Week.

However, neither a title nor a plethora of wins will stop Cross’ pesonal development as a player. Dedicated to endurance and technique, Cross sees the tournament as a vehicle for improvement.

“Even though I’m happy with how I played, I definitely still have some shots that I need to work on,” she said. “So, this tournament really gave me an idea of what I need to focus on for the rest of the season.”

Newcomer Cassie Webster also played impressively for UR, reaching the quarterfinals of the singles draw. Webster won her first match over Hamilton’s Kara Powers in straight sets, 7-5, 6-1. Her second match was also successful, as she defeated No. 12 seeded Stephanie Parvan of Nazareth 6-4, 6-1. Webster dominated her third round match, defeating Dani Fancher of Skidmore College, 6-1, 6-1.

Webster finally fell in the quarterfinal match against No. 4 seeded Dana Lim of SUNY New Paltz by a score of 6-2, 6-2. Lim lost in the semifinals to the eventual tournament winner, No. 2 seeded Jackie Shtemberg of TCNJ 6-2, 6-1.

Webster and Cross teamed together for the doubles draw and won their first round match over Beirne and Larson of New Paltz, 8-5. Unfortunately, they were then forced to play the No. 1 seeded and eventual tournament winning duo of Contrafatto and Shtemberg during the second round. Cross and Webster were defeated 8-3.

Rochester had two other competitors at the ITA Championships. Junior Alexa Perry played in both the singles and the doubles draw. Perry lost a very close first round singles match to Marnie Powers of Hamilton, 7-5, 4-6, 6-3.

At doubles, Perry paired with sophomore Melinda Beckman to beat the Hamilton duo of Brantley and Poe, winning 8-4. They lost their second match to No. 5 seeded Lee and Olson of New York University, 8-5.

Overall, it was a triumphant weekend for the Yellowjackets. They proved themselves as a strong force and should be very competitive for the duration of the season.

“I think that our results this weekend are very encouraging,” Cross said. “If we can just carry this momentum into the rest of the season, we will hopefully continue to be successful.”

The ‘Jackets next competition will take place at home on Wed versus Nazareth College.

Sall can be reached at dsall@campustimes.org.



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