After solid play in the University Athletic Association championships last weekend, the women?s tennis team may have proved that they truly deserve a shot in the national spotlight. Starting last Thursday, UR hosted the three-day tournament in the Goergen Athletic Center and in the Peter Lyman outdoor tennis courts and walked away with a third-place finish.
In the tournament, the Yellowjackets took on Carnegie Mellon University, Washington University in St. Louis and the University of Chicago.
In quarterfinal play, the Yellowjackets swept Carnegie Mellon behind strong play by the entire squad. Winning 9 – 0, the women moved on to face Washington in the semifinal round.
The Bears, currently ranked No. 11 in the nation, were a worthy adversary.Due to inclement weather, the contest was moved indoors to play to decision.
The Bears narrowly defeated UR by a score of 5-3.
Sophomore Joanna Toke and junior Deepa Popuri notched victories in singles, while Toke and junior Rachel Sandler were victorious in doubles.
The contest had its drama as sophomore Marybeth Liang battled three sets before succumbing to Bears player Steph Cook. Liang played this match with her leg cramping and was nearly victorious, losing in three sets ? 3-6, 6-3 and 7-5.
?We fought hard,? sophomore Erika Kahan said. ?Neither team deserved to lose.?
After falling to the Bears, the women went on to play Chicago in the third-place match.The Yellowjackets again played superb tennis as they swept the Maroons.
The Yellowjackets finished in third place in the UAA tournament and now await word on postseason play.
Throughout the season, UR battled the nation?s best programs.
The women are hopeful that the NCAA selection committee will recognize the strength of their schedule and reward them with a bid to National Championships.
?Our team has played well against some very good teams,? Liang remarked. ?The performance in all of those matches was very respectable.?
Individually, Toke will be moving on to the National Championships, as she stands undefeated in singles play this season. Throughout the year, Toke has been dominating her opponents and she has proved to her coach and teammates that she will shine in the national spotlight.
?Joanna is a really good player,? coach Anna Khvalina said. ?She has been crushing her opponents, and I feel she will do well at nationals.?