Tennis battles elements and opponents at Air Force
By HEATHER KENNEDY
AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. – The Northern Colorado Women's Tennis team battled not only some of the top players in the country, but also the weather all weekend at the USAFA Women's Tennis Invitational.
Competition began on Friday outdoors, but moved indoors for the evening and Saturday before returning to the outdoors on Sunday due to cold temperatures and rain. This was the team's final fall tune-up before the ITA Fall Regionals in Las Vegas, Oct. 10-14.
"This was our toughest competition by far this fall," Head Coach Brenda Vlasak said. "We were competing against top teams in the country. The weather and conditions definitely factored in but our team quickly rebounded the final day. We had a lot of success today throughout our lineup, and the girls rose to the occasion."
Junior Elizabeth Tapia (Panama City, Panama) played in the Alpha Flight for singles, posting a record of 1-2. Her weekend started with a 6-1, 6-1 loss to Julia Metzger from Oregon, who is ranked No. 92 in the Preseason ITA Rankings. Tapia then dropped a hard-fought three-set match to Denver's Steffi Rath, 6-1, 2-6, 10-5 before bouncing back to win 6-4, 6-2 against Florencia Magni from South Dakota State.
"Tapia battled back after her first set loss, winning the second set decisively 6-2," Vlasak said. "Unfortunately she lost the third set but proved that she can fight back and battle with the best players in the country."
Senior Jennifer Buchanan (Fullerton, Calif.) was in the Bravo Flight for singles, before being reshuffled to the Echo Flight for her third match to avoid teammates facing each other. Buchanan went 0-3, losing to three talented athletes. She lost her opening round, 6-0, 6-2 to Oregon's Nicole Long and then fell 6-2, 6-1 to Hannah Dake from Air Force. In her final match of the tournament, Buchanan fell to Washington State's Charlotte Koning, 6-1, 6-4.
Junior Stephanie Catlin (Basingstoke, England) also dropped all three matches in the Charlie Flight, though battled tough. Catlin lost 6-3, 2-6, 11-9 to Illinois' Julia Jamieson, the eventual runner-up. She then dropped a 6-2, 6-2 decision to Christine Molina from Air Force and 6-0, 6-1 to Abby Stevens from Colorado State.
Sophomore Chrissie Hoolahan (Richmond, Surrey, England) posted a 1-2 record in the Delta Flight. In the first match, she was edged by Illinois' Audrey O'Connor 3-6, 7-6, 10-8, before winning her second bout, 4-3 (retired) against Ffion Davies of South Dakota State. In the second-place match, Hoolahan again battled to a third set before eventually losing 6-3, 4-6, 11-9 to Denver's Mandy VandenEerenbeemt.
"Both Steph Catlin and Chrissie Hoolahan had tough three set matches against top Illinois players. Some other stand out matches from today were Elizabeth Tapia's and Chrissie Hoolahan's matches against DU. Hoolahan really played some amazing tennis today, I was really impressed with how hard she fought and how determined she was and this is the best I've seen her play."
Freshman Hilary Walters-West continued her strong start to her collegiate campaign, finishing third in the Echo Flight. The Simi Valley, Calif. native lost her opening round match 6-2, 6-2 to Arizona's Hailey Johnson then turned her attention to a straight-sets victory over Beatriz Souza from South Dakota State, 6-3, 6-3.
Fellow freshman Claire Uhle (Blue Bell, Pa.) went 1-2 in the Foxtrot Flight. She lost her opening bout to Koning 6-4, 6-1 but came back for a valiant three-set win over Tracy Haws-Lay from South Dakota State, 6-3, 5-7, 10-7. In the third-place match, Uhle lost 6-1, 6-2 to Colorado State's Mollie Cooper.
Schumacher lost 6-0, 6-2 to Marcelli Magday from Air Force, then defeated Brooke Henry from South Dakota State 6-4, 6-0 and lost in the seventh-place match in a pair of tiebreakers to Maddie Buxton from Colorado State, 7-6, 7-6.
Henning fell 6-1, 6-2 to Tiffany Filipovich from South Dakota State and 6-1, 6-1 to Buxton before winning the ninth-place match 0-6, 2-1 (ret.) against Henry.
Tapia and Catlin were paired in the Alpha Flight of doubles, getting a bye in the first round. The duo then lost 8-6 to Cecil and Dake from Air Force and 8-3 to Vasilieva and Googe from Washington State.
Hoolahan and Walters-West went 1-2 to finish 13th in the Bravo Flight. In the opening round, they lost 8-2 to Kankaras and Luzina from Washington State and then lost 8-1 to the Colorado duo of Janssens and Tiefel. The pair won their final set 8-4 over South Dakota State's Magni and Souza.
Uhle and Buchanan received a bye in the first round of the Charlie Flight of doubles. The two then dropped an 8-4 set to Denver's Isberg and Garpenlov and lost 8-4 to Hueffner and Magday from Air Force. Due to time constraints and the weather, the teams did not play the seventh-place match.
Also in the third flight were Henning and Schumacher. The pair lost 8-0 to Tran and Meyers from Air Force and 8-3 to Colorado State's Buxton and Pick as well as 8-2 against Colorado's Sperry and Wegleitner.