Women’s tennis tops D-II UMSL before UAAs

| Senior Sports Editor

Four days before University Athletic Association championships, the Washington University women’s tennis team used its final tune-up to gain some confidence heading into the big weekend.

After a weekend off, the No. 15 Bears traveled across town to face Division-II rival University of Missouri-St. Louis on Monday, and fought windy conditions to bring back to campus a 6-3 victory, an important win in their final match before UAA Championships begin on Friday.

“The weekend was so necessary to have off, but Monday was so crucial for us because we needed to get into match mode,” head coach Kelly Stahlhuth said.

Despite the win, the team was convinced it has room to improve before Friday’s tournament begins.

“I think our level of play wasn’t where we wanted it to be,” Stahlhuth said. “But it was good to get all of that out of our system. We’ve got three days of good practice and then we play on Friday, so I think it served the purpose it needed.”

The match began well for the Bears, who took two out of three doubles matches against the Tritons to take a lead into singles. No. 1 and No. 3 doubles both went to the Bears, as senior Elise Sambol and freshman Theresa Petraskova took top doubles 8-3 and sophomore Katie Helfgott and freshman Brittany Trimble won third doubles 8-2.

Only freshman Corinne Rauck and sophomore Paige Madara’s 6-8 defeat at No. 2 doubles prevented the Bears from taking a sweep into singles.

“We were able to win, and we weren’t playing the best tennis we were this semester,” Stahlhuth said. “As a team, everybody was working hard and contributing the points.”

Wash. U. then clinched the match with four out of six singles victories. Junior Natalie Tingir scored a three-set victory at top singles (4-6, 6-2, 10-5) and Madara bounced back from her narrow defeat at doubles to take a 6-3, 2-6, 10-6 win at No. 3 singles.

Trimble and Helfgott followed up their doubles victory with straight-sets wins in their respective singles matches. Trimble took a 6-4, 6-0 victory at No. 4 singles while Helfgott’s 6-0, 6-5 win at No. 5 singles rounded out the Bears’ victories for the day.

“The wind was a challenge, but I felt like I played well in spite of that, and I was happy with how it turned out,” Trimble said, of her 2-0 day.

In her first match since March 17, sophomore Kate Klein was defeated 6-3, 6-1 at No. 2 singles, and junior Kristen George fell 6-3, 6-2 at No. 6 singles.

The teammembers acknowledged that there was a bit of a confidence boost in defeating a Division-II school just before their biggest tournament of the spring season.

“They had some good, solid players. It was really good tennis,” Stahlhuth said. “It was just exactly what we needed going into the weekend coming up, so it is nice to beat a D-II school.”

UAAs will begin on Friday morning, and the tournament will take place in St. Louis at the Dwight Davis Tennis Center in Forest Park. While seeds for the tournament have not yet been announced, the Bears are thankful that they are at home for the weekend.

“I definitely think we’re ready. We’ve done really well. [This season] we beat teams we haven’t beaten in years,” Trimble said. “I think we’re all confident and I think being at home will help, because we’re used to playing here and it’s always good to return to your own space.”

The tournament is scheduled to start at 9 a.m.

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