Women’s tennis finishes fourth in UAA

| Editor-in-Chief

Eric Marcus | Student Life

Freshman Aly Coran winds up for a forehand return during the Lynn Imergoot Invitational on Sept. 15, 2012. Coran has won 11 straight singles ties and was 3-0 at No. 4 singles at the University Athletic Association Championships in Altamonte Springs, Fla. this weekend.

The No. 10 Washington University women’s tennis team returned from Florida Saturday night with a fourth-place finish in the University Athletic Association Championships.

Women’s tennis could be the most competitive sport in the UAA, with six of eight teams ranked in the top 25 nationally. Throw in the 80-degree heat and the humidity of Altamonte Springs, Fla., and you have a tough playing environment.

“When your one-through-six seeds are all ranked, all of the matches are going to be hard. When six out of eight are in the top 24, that is so hard,” head coach Kelly Stahlhuth said. “But that is a huge credit to the conference. You don’t want to be in a schmuck conference; you want to be in a conference that is tough. It is just that when you get to conference, there is no easy day.”

The Bears routinely found themselves in a hole heading into singles play, trailing 2-1 after doubles play in each of their three matchups. While they were able to win four of six singles matches and defeat No. 24 Brandeis University 5-4, No. 13 Carnegie Mellon University and No. 7 University of Chicago were each able to hold on for 6-3 wins.

“We had a lot of tough matches, and we did what we could,” Stahlhuth said. “They were all tough. They just kept gunning for us, and we tried to hold up as best we could.”

Against Brandeis, junior Theresa Petraskova and freshman Jamie Silverberg were the only doubles team to win, picking up a 9-7 victory at No. 2. The Red and Green picked up victories at No. 3-6 singles to take the match 5-4. Junior Corinne Rauck sealed the win with a 6-0 third set at No. 6 singles.

In the semifinals against CMU, the team of freshman Aly Coran and Silverberg picked up an 8-1 win at No. 3 doubles. Coran won at No. 4 singles (6-2, 6-0), and senior Paige Madara earned a win at No. 5 singles (6-4, 6-4), but it was not enough to overcome the early deficit.

The loss set up a rematch with Chicago in the third-place game. The Bears’ 5-4 victory over the Maroons on April 13 had bumped Chicago into the fourth seed and into the path of the eventual champion, No. 3 Emory University.

Rauck and senior Kate Klein were able to snag an 8-4 win at No. 1 doubles, but the Bears once again moved on to singles play behind 2-1. Wins coming only from Coran and Madara at No. 4 and No. 6 singles, respectively, left the Red and Green with a 6-3 loss and fourth place.

“[Chicago] came out tough, and they are a very strong team. Everyone fought really hard, but we just didn’t get the win,” Coran said.

Coran rolled through the weekend with a 3-0 record at No. 4 singles and has won 11 straight singles ties.

“I just had a great mentality this weekend in singles and was very confident. I’ve been playing well recently, so I was thinking about good points I’ve had in the past and trying to convert that to the present,” Coran said. “The want to win is very strong right now and always is. Wanting to fight for every point helps me through my matches.”

Wash. U. must now wait until Monday, May 6 to see if it qualifies for the NCAA tournament. Until then, there are final exams to keep the team busy.

“We are tired, emotionally and physically, even though we are not too injured. We really need to rest, eat, study for finals, but we really need to find our time where we can get ourselves back to 100 percent,” Stahlhuth said. “We can’t keep playing exhausted.”

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