Five straight wins for the Elon University women’s tennis team have gotten the team back on track after starting the season 0-4. Its recent success has been due to the consistency throughout the lineup.
From senior Jordan Johnston at No. 1 singles all the way down to freshman Tolley Rice near the bottom of the singles lineup, the Phoenix has various players on winning streaks that have translated to wins for the team as a whole, including three straight sweeps.
Elon currently has six players on winning streaks of three matches or more in singles play. The longest of these streaks belongs to Johnston and Rice, who have each won five straight matches.
Johnston’s success comes as no surprise, as she entered the season ranked as the No. 69 singles player in the nation by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA). Much more surprising has been the play of Rice, who was inserted into the singles lineup Feb. 8 against North Carolina Central University. Since then, she has played at No. 4, No. 5 and No. 6 singles, and has not lost a match.
The Phoenix also has three players with four-match winning streaks in singles play. Seniors Frida Jansaker and Barbora Lazarova, as well as junior Maria Camara Ruiz all have captured four straight wins.
Jansaker has not lost a singles match since Jan. 24 against No. 4 University of Georgia, having won four straight since then. An injury forced her to miss singles play during the team’s matches against Radford University Feb. 22 and the University of North Carolina at Charlotte Feb. 26, but she jumped back into the lineup March 1 against Georgia Southern University, winning her match and helping the Phoenix secure its first Southern Conference win of the year.
Senior Bryn Khoury has also played well of late, winning her last three matches on the singles and doubles courts. Head coach Elizabeth Anderson has shuffled the doubles lineup quite a bit during the early portion of this season, but has found a solid pairing in Khoury and sophomore Taylor Casey. Khoury and Casey have won three straight doubles matches as the No. 3 pairing, leading to Elon winning the doubles point in all three.
The No. 2 doubles pairing of Jansaker and Camara Ruiz has also been on fire recently, playing a unique brand of tennis that has led to five straight wins. In each of those wins, the opponent has failed to win more than three games of the set.
Jansaker started the season playing doubles with Johnston, her partner of the last two seasons. At the end of last season, the pair had a doubles record of 42-4, and started this season ranked No. 60 in the nation. But four straight losses to start the spring season forced the two to split up.
“It’s a completely different type of game than playing with [Johnston],” Jansaker said.
Jansaker went on to describe how Camara Ruiz’s “Spain-style” of tennis matches up well with her game.
“I love that game, so that’s what’s been clicking,” she said. “We’re both very, very emotional players and when that clicks, there’s no one that can beat us.”
Jansaker and Camara Ruiz proved this in the team’s win over Georgia Southern, as the pair needed just 25 minutes to oust Stephanie Woods and Guilia Riepe at No. 2 doubles, setting a new Elon record.
The team is a confident bunch, and has reason to be, since it has won five straight matches. While Anderson loves to see her players play well, she wants them to continue to get better at the same time.
“They’re playing well, but every match is a new day and a new opponent,” Anderson said. “We have to make sure that we’re continuing on working on some things that we need to improve on so that we’re ready for every match as it comes.”