Women’s tennis finishes fall season
The Washington University’s women’s tennis team finished its fall season Sunday, competing in the Wilson/ITA Central Regional Tournament. Though no Bears advanced to the national championships, they did come away with one tournament victory as senior Ania Tchergueiko and freshman Natalie Tingir won the open doubles tournament, defeating Oberlin College’s Jane Hayden and Ariel Lewis 8-4 in the finals.
“We played a lot of tennis in 36 hours, close to 42 matches in two day,” Head Coach Kelly Stahlhuth said. “The competition was really tough. We did not have a lot of free passes and did well.”
Three Lady Bears advanced to the round of 16 in the championship singles draw, though none advanced beyond that mark.
Senior Erin Swaller fell in straight sets, 6-2, 6-3 to Kenyon College’s Prita Kidder while sophomore Jaclyn Bild lost 6-1, 7-5 to University of Chicago rival Carmen Vaca Guzman. Sophomore Karina Kocemba had the closest match of the day, battling Chicago’s Chrissy Hu for three sets before falling 2-6, 6-3, 6-1. “It’s good to go as we can see new players, especially the University of Chicago, before our actual season,” sophomore Elise Sambol said.
Sophomore Kristin Fleming and Tingir also experienced success in the main draw, advancing to the second round.
In the singles consolation bracket, sophomore Alex Cassady reached the semifinals before being forced to withdraw. “Academics comes first,” Fleming said. According to Fleming, Cassady had a chemistry class on Monday afternoon that she could not skip and was forced to default to catch the flight home. Tchergueiko and Sambol also played singles for the Red and Green.
Doubles proved to be a tournament highlight for Wash. U. In addition to Tchergueiko and Tingir’s win, Swaller and Cassady advanced to the quarterfinals before losing 8-6 to Greer Mackie and Kayla Smith from DePauw University. Kocemba suffered another tough defeat in the round of 16 to Hu, as she and partner Fleming fell 9-8 (7-5) to Hu and Tiffany Nguyen.
Bild and Sambol also played championship doubles, losing in the first round in a 9-8 (7-3) heartbreaker to Kenyon’s Anna Becker and Julia Diskint. They advanced to the consolation semifinals before losing 8-4 to Sarah Short and Courtney Steiner of Denison University.
“Doubles is turning a good corner now. We knew that we had the singles last year, and the doubles have improved a ton in four weeks,” Stahlhuth said.
Wash. U. has some downtime before taking on Wartburg College on Saturday, Feb. 21 in Belleville, Ill. The team is no longer allowed to practice formally until January. “We have a firm understanding and idea of what to work on,” Swaller said. The team plans on having informal practices without Stahlhuth.
“We have the men as inspiration and want to follow in their footsteps,” Fleming said.
—With additional reporting by Johann Qua Hiansen