EVANSVILLE, Ind. – Competing in its second fall tournament of the season, the University of Tennessee at Martin tennis squad accounted for a pair of doubles flight championships at the Evansville Metro Collegiate Invite, which was co-hosted by the University of Evansville and the University of Southern Indiana.
Overall, the Skyhawks won eight of their nine doubles decisions, earning the Flight 1 and Flight 2 titles to go along with a Flight 3 runner-up finish. UT Martin also compiled eight singles wins this weekend, as six of the seven Skyhawks chipped in with at least one victory apiece.
“I was very proud of how we played in doubles this weekend,” UT Martin head coach Dennis Taylor said. “It’s always good to play in the championship match on the final day of the tournament and we played in three of those today. I was also proud of our two freshmen Mizuki Sakurai and Amelia Campbell, who more than held their own in their collegiate debuts this weekend.”
The Skyhawk duo of Asel Jumamukhambetova and Jemima Potter brought home the Flight 1 doubles championship with a perfect 3-0 record. They defeated Belmont’s Erin Allen and Maria Plaksina by a 6-3 margin before downing Evansville’s Chieko Yamada and Theodora Soldatou, 6-3. In the championship showdown against North Alabama’s Nina Linke and Donna Haycock, the UT Martin tandem posted a 6-1 victory.
Freshmen Jule Streif and Sakurai also posted a doubles championship, joining forces to win the Flight 2 crown. The journey to the title started with a 6-3 win in the first round over Ava Ratcliff and Aubrey Smith from Bellarmine before a 6-0 semifinal victory over the Belmont tandem of Sarah Beth Crowe and Suzanna Stapler. Streif/Sakurai followed with a 6-4 championship triumph over Evansville’s Andrea Pascual-Larrinaga and Nicoli Pereira.
In the Flight 3 doubles bracket, Olha Burak and Elina Geut posted a 6-2 opening round win over Evansville’s Marie Kapelevich and Leah Helpingstine. After an impressive 6-0 win over Belmont’s Nikki Christiansen and Natalyn Jones in the semifinals, the Skyhawk duo just fell short with a 6-2 setback against North Alabama.
Jumamukhambetova was responsible for a pair of victories in Flight 1 singles. After a three-set loss in the opening round to the eventual champion, she recovered with wins over Belmont’s Drew Hawkins (6-4, 6-4) and Southern Indiana’s Lauren Hambrock (6-3, 6-2).
Potter also posted a win in Flight 2 singles, turning away Kelsey Shipman from Southern Indiana by a 7-5, 6-2 margin in the consolation first round. Geut opened her Flight 3 singles tournament with a 6-7, 6-3, 6-3 victory over Belmont’s Terra Sheldon while Campbell (6-3, 6-3 over North Alabama’s Claire DeGeorge) and Sakurai (6-2, 6-0 against Southern Indiana’s Alex Jamison) also began their Flight 4 singles appearance with victories.
In Flight 5 singles, Burak made a deep run – starting with a 6-3, 6-3 win over Bellarmine’s Smith in the first round. She followed that with a 7-6 (4), 6-0 victory over Stapler from Belmont before falling in the championship round to North Alabama. Campbell also took part in the consolation final in Flight 5, as she was barely edged out by a 2-6, 6-2, 10-6 score to Smith of Bellarmine.
The Skyhawks return to action with a pair of tournament appearances on Oct. 12-15. UT Martin will take part in the ITA Regionals in Murfreesboro, Tenn. on Oct. 12-15 while also competing in the Alabama-Huntsville Fall Tournament on Oct. 13-15.