Herd Impresses in Weekend Matches|
Oct. 22, 2012
BLACKSBURG, Va. -- The Marshall University women's tennis team put together an impressive weekend at the ITA Atlantic Regional on Saturday and Sunday, and will now look to punctuate its stellar showing with strong finishes in Monday and Tuesday's final draws.
With a total of four singles players advancing to the Main Draw's round of 32, Marshall was the third most-highly represented team in that stage of the tournament behind Penn State's six and UVA's five. The Herd also stood out as one of just two teams to have three doubles squads make it to the final 16 of the doubles tournament.
After advancing from the qualifying stages of the tournament, Marshall junior Karli Timko upset Norfolk State's Laura Gutierrez in the opening match of the Main Draw on Saturday to advance to the round of 32. She lost to VCU's Sali Kvitashvili in the next match, but will earn due credit for winning three do-or-die matches over the course of the weekend.
The Thundering Herd's No. 1, No. 2, and No. 3 singles players – Dominika Zaprazna, Maria Voscekova, and Ellie Ball – all won their respective singles matches in the opening two rounds of the Main Draw to advance to the round of 16 on Sunday afternoon.
Unfortunately, all three ladies fell in hard fought matches, with Zaprazna's round of 16 loss going into extra games after the third set was knotted at 5-5. In the end she lost 3-6, 6-2, 7-5, to UVA's Maci Epstein, and will join Voscekova (6-3, 6-2 loss to Virginia Tech's Isel Martinez-Marcos) and Ball (6-0, 6-0 loss to Penn State's No. 1 seeded Petra Januskova) on the consolation side of the bracket come Monday.
In doubles play, the Herd was even more successful, as all three of its teams progressed beyond the first two stages of the Main Draw. Freshman Dana Oppinger teamed with Timko to defeat UMBC's Berghaus and Stange-Jonsson 8-3 in the round of 64 before dropping Penn State 8-4 to advance to the round of 16. An 8-1 loss to William & Mary's Belaya and Loomans halted their progress shortly thereafter.
Elsewhere, Kara Kucin and Ellie Ball rode a first round bye to the round of 32 where they downed William & Mary's Smith and Vulovich 8-4 to progress to a round of 16 showdown with UVA's No. 2 seeded pairing of Nauta and Xi. Yet after a determined fight, the Marshall tandem fell 8-6 to the Cavaliers duo.
Marshall's No. 4 seeded team of Zaprazna and Voscekova also took advantage of a first round bye and was able to defeat teams from Virginia Tech (8-4) and VCU (8-4) to stay alive in the competition.
As the only Marshall players to advance to the Finals Bracket in either doubles or singles, the Herd ladies will play Cepeda and Nemchiniov of William & Mary at 9 a.m. on Monday morning in the quarterfinals of the doubles tournament. The rest of the Marshall players will compete in the consolation brackets.
“So far this tournament has been good,” said head coach John Mercer after Sunday's action, “and we have been playing much better compared to some of the earlier tournament's this fall. Ellie had two very good wins against VCU and Old Dominion, and overall we had four singles players make it to the round of 32. In doubles, Dominika and Maria played a solid match on Sunday and got a good win against VCU. Hopefully they can keep gaining confidence and momentum with each match.”
For complete brackets with schedules and times of each match please click the link below, and be sure to stay tuned to the Thundering Herd's official Twitter account (@Herd_Zone) for further updates from the ITA Regional.