After opening the spring season with losses to No. 54 Virginia Tech and No. 3 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill of the Atlantic Coast Conference, the Elon University women’s tennis team traveled to Athens, Ga., to play in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Kickoff Weekend tournament. The Phoenix once again faced ranked competition in No. 4 University of Georgia and No. 55 Kansas State University, and dropped both matches.
Elon opened play with a first round match against Georgia Jan. 24. Georgia quickly grabbed the doubles point by defeating Elon on all three courts.
The top three singles players for the Phoenix were subsequently defeated by the Bulldogs to secure the match for Georgia. Elon senior Jordan Johnston failed to win a game, falling to No. 4 Lauren Herring, 6-0, 6-0. Elon senior Frida Jansaker, playing at No. 2 singles for Elon, was handled, 6-0, 6-2, by No. 10 Silvia Garcia, while No. 25 Maho Kowase defeated Elon’s Barbora Lazarova, 6-1, 6-0, on court No. 3. Playing at No. 4 singles for the Phoenix, senior Bryn Khoury competed with No. 33 Kate Fuller, losing the first set 6-4. Khoury’s match went unfinished as Georgia captured the victory on court No. 1.
In the consolation match of the tournament, Elon faced Kansas State Jan. 25 after the Wildcats were defeated by Arkansas in the first round.
The Wildcats took the doubles point with victories over Elon’s top two doubles pairings. First, Taylor Casey and Maria Camara Ruiz were defeated, 6-3, by Kansas State’s Maria Panaite and Iva Bago on court No. 2. Kansas State then captured the point after Petra Niedermayerova and Palma Juhasz beat Elon’s Johnston and Jansaker, 6-3.
Johnston and Jansaker are now 0-4 playing doubles so far this season, coming off of a 2013 campaign in which the pair went 22-4.
Jansaker quickly tied the match up by beating Panaite, 6-2, 6-2, on court No. 2. No. 42 Niedermayerova then topped Johnston, 6-4, 6-1, to regain the lead for the Wildcats. The Phoenix then took the next two matches to take 3-2 lead, as Khoury took down Iva Bago in a tiebreaker on court No. 4 and Lazarova defeated Juhasz on court No. 3.
The Wildcats would tie it up once again with a win on court No. 6. Livia Cirnu beat Elon’s Camara Ruiz, leaving it up to the match on court No. 5 to decide a victor. Kansas State’s Amina St. Hill took the first set from Casey, 6-4, but Casey won the second set, meaning the third set tiebreaker would decide the match. St. Hill prevailed, topping Casey, 10-8, in the tiebreaker.
The Phoenix is back in action Feb. 8 at the Jimmy Powell Tennis Center in Elon for a pair of matches against Norfolk State University and North Carolina Central University.
After facing four ranked opponents in a row, Elon is not scheduled to play another ranked team for the rest of the season. The Phoenix, ranked No. 75 by the ITA, remains the only ranked team in the SoCon.