MARTIN, Tenn. – The University of Tennessee at Martin tennis team concluded a busy fall season with a solid performance at the Red Wolves Invitational held in Jonesboro, Ark. over the weekend.
“Overall I was happy with how we played,” Skyhawk head coach Dennis Taylor said. “Every team there was strong and the winds were blowing strong, which always makes things very unpredictable. There were several close matches that we lost that a point here or there would have given us the win.”
Competing in the Flight 1 singles competition, Ivon Simic posted the best individual result for UT Martin. She brought home third place honors, defeating Murray State’s Ashley Canty 6-2, 6-3 in the opening round. After falling 6-2, 6-3 in a tough match against Arkansas State’s Tamara Slijepcevic, Simic bounced back with a 3-6, 7-6, 6-3 win over Southeast Missouri’s Heather Robinson.
Jessica Silva also finished in third place in her singles matchup (Flight 6 singles). She fell 6-1, 6-3 to Southern Illinois’ Gisela Cairo Baza before scoring an impressive 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 win over Arkansas State’s Chiara Stefanov.
In Flight 7 singles, Katie McCall won her first match, downing Janelle Fung of Arkansas State by a 1-6, 6-2, 6-0 margin. McCall then dropped a tough match to Central Arkansas’ Bianca Strukelj (4-6, 6-4, 6-2) before falling to Southern Illinois’ Abigail Plecki (6-4, 7-5). UT Martin’s Florence Nicole also took part in this flight, falling to Plecki (1-6, 7-5, 6-3) in the opening round.
Alice Laing ran into some tough luck in the Flight 5 singles competition, falling in three sets to Arkansas State’s Jess Heeps-Eriksen (6-1, 3-6, 6-2) and Central Arkansas’ Kristina Horsikyan (2-6, 6-3, 6-3). Skyhawk senior Anna Marie Herbold fell in a pair of matches in the Flight 2 singles draw. She lost 6-1, 6-1 to Southern Illinois’ Natasha Tomishima before dropping a 6-3, 6-4 decision to Elizabeth Nyenwe of Southeast Missouri. Johanie Van Zyl fell in three sets (6-7, 6-3, 6-3) in the Flight 3 opener before falling in the consolation finals to Krizia Buck of Central Arkansas (6-3, 6-0). In Flight 4 singles action, Anna Winkelmann fell to Southeast Missouri’s Jess Courtnell by a 6-2, 6-2 margin before falling 6-3, 6-2 to Sasha Ruocco of Central Arkansas.
UT Martin accounted for at least one victory in each doubles flight. In Flight 2, Winkelmann and Laing fell 8-6 to Arkansas State’s team of Biljana Milosevska and Slijepcevic before claiming an 8-6 win over Southeast Missouri’s Nyenwe/Nikole Novikova. On Saturday, Winkelmann and Laing began the day with an 8-2 win over Tomishima/Jennifer Dien of Southern Illinois before a narrow 8-5 loss to Allison Murphy/Buck of Central Arkansas.
The Flight 5 Skyhawk tandem of Silva and Nicole fell 8-4 to Arkansas State’s Fung/Stefanov and also dropped a 8-4 decision to Stephanie Gonzalez/Bianca Strukelj of Central Arkansas (9-7). However, the duo recovered and swept Saturday’s matches, winning 8-5 over Plecki and Yana Kakovkina and 8-0 over Ariadna Cairo Baza and Baza from Southern Illinois.
In Flight 1, Simic and Herbold teamed to go 1-3. They fell 8-6 to Janie Nowland and Ioana Teu of Arkansas State and 8-2 to Melanie Delsart/Anastacia Simons of Southern Illinois. The UT Martin team then fell 8-3 to Murray State’s team of Canty/Megan Blue before closing out its tournament participation with an 8-5 win against Michaela McShane and Veronique Luksich of Arkansas-Little Rock.
Van Zyl and McCall fell in a tight 10-8 decision to the Southeast Missouri team of Courtnell/Melissa Martin in Flight 4 doubles. The Skyhawk duo then fell 8-6 to Murray State’s Carolyn Huerth/Suzaan Stoltz and 8-1 to Horsikyan/Anna Buyukyan of Central Arkansas. Van Zyl and McCall then came up with an 8-4 win over Sofia Krsmanovic/Heeps-Eriksen of Arkansas State.
“Even in tough conditions, I thought Katie and Jessica played about as good as I have ever seen them play,” Taylor said.
UT Martin opens its 2013 spring season with a matchup at Memphis at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 16.