Salukis win titles in each competition

The women’s tennis team more than redeemed itself during the weekend’s Red Wolf Invitational by winning titles in every doubles flight competition and taking singles titles in flights three, five and six.

The accomplishments advanced the team that failed to win a title at the ITA Regional Championships after reaching the semi-final round Oct. 20-21.

All nine players won either a singles or doubles title in the Jonesboro, Ark., invitational.

Coach Audra Nothwehr said the win displays the team’s capability.

“We were able to win because we are so deep,” she said. “That has been our strength all year, and this weekend we proved that once again.”

Junior Anita Lee won her first two flight three singles matches 6-4, 6-3 and 6-3, 6-2, respectively. Lee won the flight three singles title in comeback fashion as she fell 2-6 in the first set but retaliated to win the next two sets 6-4, 6-1.

Both twin sophomores Ariadna and Gisela Cairo Baza won singles flights five and six respectively.

Ariadna Cairo Baza took  her first match of the flight five singles bracket 3-6, 6-3, 6-4. She won the championship round 6-4, 6-3 after advancing past the semi-finals by default. Gisela Cairo Baza defeated senior Anastacia Simons 1-6, 7-6, 6-4 in an all-Saluki flight six championship.

In doubles play, Simons and senior Melanie Delsart won the flight one championship match 8-4. Sophomore Natasha Tomishima and senior Jennifer Dien won the flight two championships by default after winning the semi-finals 8-2. Lee and junior Korey Love struggled in their first flight three doubles match, but the duo charged and won the next two games 8-2 and the championship match 8-1.

Dien said this year means a lot to her, and she intends to finish it strong.

“We’re graduating three seniors this year, and we all want to end our college careers with wins,” she said. “The same focus we used in the fall tournaments we intend to continue into the spring.”

Freshman Abigail Plecki won the flight five doubles with University of Arkansas at Little Rocks’ senior Yana Kakovkina. The duo, who had never played with each other before, outplayed even the Baza twins and won the championship 8-1 with ease.

“I was a little worried at first playing with a new partner from another team, but we played really well together,” Plecki said.

Since the invitational was this fall’s last tournament, Nothwehr said the team will spend its time off conditioning and doing community service.

“We want to work more with the girls improving their conditioning as far as strength and speed goes,” she said. “Because they have more time outside of competition, we want to make sure that we give back to the community because they are the ones who support us.”

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