September 30, 2012

Women's tennis wins four titles at Creighton Invitational

By HEATHER KENNEDY
UNCBears.com

OMAHA – "We Are The Champions" might have been playing in the Northern Colorado Women's Tennis team's van on Sunday after the Bears won three flights of singles and one doubles flight at the Creighton Invitational.

And the four singles players who didn't bring home the championship weren't too shabby as all placed in the top six.

"Overall we had a very successful tournament," Head Coach Brenda Vlasak said. "We went 24 and 12 in singles and doubles combined and each player was successful in some way. They were able to transfer what we've been working on in practice to their matches this weekend."

Junior Stephanie Catlin won the B flight, while freshman Hilary Walters-West won the C flight and fellow freshman Claire Uhle won the D flight and she and senior Jennifer Buchanan teamed up to win the B doubles flight.

Catlin started things off with a 6-1, 6-4 victory over Creighton's Sam Anderson, then continued her run with a 6-1, 6-2 dominating win against South Dakota's Milica Pavlovic. She won the title with a straight-set 6-4, 6-3 win against Nebraska-Omaha's Molly Matricardi.

Catlin also paired with junior Elizabeth Tapia to finish second in the A Flight of doubles. The duo won 8-2 against Anderson and Analese Snyder from Creighton and 8-3 against Alex Tran and Rachel Pierson from Nebraska-Omaha before losing 9-8 in the championship match against Jennie Hartjes and Anna Kirshenbaum from Creighton.

Walters-West and sophomore Chrissie Hoolahan were also in the top flight of doubles and took third place. They did not allow a single point in their opening bout, winning 8-0 over Yamini Reddy and Pavlovic from USD but lost 8-5 to the eventual champions, Hartjes and Kirshenbaum. The Bears bounced back for an 8-5 victory in the third-place match against Tran and Pierson.

Walters-West continued her stellar start to her collegiate career with a 3-0 record in the C Flight of singles. She is now 11-1 through two tournaments in singles and doubles. At Creighton, she allowed her opponents to win just two games in her opening match, winning 6-1, 6-1 over Megan Sween from North Dakota. In the semfinals, she posted a straight-sets 6-3, 6-4 win against Liz Vermillion from Creighton and won the championship 6-2, 7-5 over South Dakota State's Ffion Davis.

Hoolahan was in the same flight on the bottom half of the draw. She also dropped just two games in the first round, winning 6-2, 6-0 against Nebraska-Omaha's Lindsay Wiedeman, before losing a three-set match to Davis, 4-6, 6-1, 6-1. Hoolahan bounced back in the third-place match to win a hard-fought 6-2, 2-6, 10-8 match against Vermillion.

This weekend it was Uhle's turn to post a perfect 6-0 record at the tournament, as she won the D Flight in singles and partnered with Buchanan to win the B flight of doubles.

In singles, Uhle defeated Tacy Haws-Lay from South Dakota State 6-3, 6-2 and Reddy from South Dakota 7-5, 7-5 to reach the championship. Uhle lost the opening set 6-1 before turning the tables and winning the next two in identical fashion, 6-1, 6-1 for the title over Veronika Makashov from USD.

In doubles, she and Buchanan won 8-4 over Makashov and Maria Tortosa Bernabeu, then fought to a tie-break 9-8 (7-4) win in the semifinals against Nebraska-Omaha's Matricardi and Heather Hottman. The duo had an easier time in the finals, winning 8-3 over the Jackrabbits' Jenny Blackburne and Florencia Magni.

Sophomore Taylor Schumacher brought home a second-place title in the E Flight of singles. She played probably her toughest match in the first round, coming back after losing the first set 6-4 to win the next two 6-3, 6-2 over Creighton's Anna Kirshenbaum. Schumacher dominiated in the next round, winning identical 6-1 sets against Tortosa from South Dakota and then lost a three-set heartbreaker 2-6, 6-1, 6-1 to Creighton's Taylor Koehrsen.

In doubles, she and freshman Maddison Henning went 1-2 in a round-robin flight C. The two lost 8-2 to Haws-Lay and Davis from South Dakota State and 9-7 to Maddy Warner (USD) and Tiffany Filipovich (SDSU) before winning their final bout 8-5 against Pierson and Adrienne Benson from Nebraska-Omaha.

In the A flight of singles, Tapia placed third and Buchanan was sixth.

Tapia won 6-3, 6-3 in her first round against Hafsa Laraibi from South Dakota before losing a three-set battle against North Dakota's Steph Petsis, 4-6, 6-3, 6-3. In the third-place match she beat the Jackrabbits Blackburne in straight sets, 6-4, 6-4.

Coming from the top portion of the bracket, Buchanan lost her opening round to eventual champion Jennie Hartjes from Creighton 6-0, 6-2. She then surrendered just two games in winning 6-2, 6-0 over Tran from Nebraska-Omaha before losing 7-6, 6-4 to Creighton's Snyder in the fifth-place match.

"Attitude and effort are everything to us," Vlasak said. "They are something we stress day-in and day-out. They are something we have complete control over and I feel we did a good job of executing that. We are proud of the way our girls competed this weekend!"