WINSTON-SALEM — The Elon University women’s tennis team defeated Drexel University 4-1 in the quarterfinals of the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) Championship Tournament on Friday afternoon.
“We were pushed against Drexel a lot,” said head coach Elizabeth Anderson, named CAA Coach of the Year this week. “But I think that’s good, because that made us better and woke us up a little bit. It’ll get us going a little more to the tournament.”
Rain forced Friday's matches from Elon's campus to Wake Forest University's indoor facility.
Sophomore Erica Braschi cruised to a 6-1, 6-1 victory on Court No. 2 over Drexel sophomore Clary Rodriguez Cruz. Both players hail from Puerto Rico, with hometowns an hour apart.
“We probably played each other five times every year throughout my junior career,” Braschi said. “We have a history, and we’re really good friends. On the court, we’re friendly, but it’s always nice to compete against her.”
Sophomore Kirsten Ward and freshman Suzanne Zenoni won the next two matches, with Ward winning 6-4, 6-2 on Court No. 5. Zenoni took the longest amount of time to complete two sets on Court No. 4, but finished off Drexel sophomore Ryshena Providence 7-5, 6-3.
After Drexel sophomore Kendra Bunch got the Dragons’ only point on Court No. 3 with a 3-6, 6-4, 6-1 victory over Elon junior Natalia Janowicz, senior Taylor Casey clinched the match for the Phoenix with a 4-6, 6-2, 6-1 win on Court No. 6.
“After I pulled out the second set, I got a lot more relaxed,” Casey said. “Everything just clicked for me. I settled in and saw the ball really well.”
The Phoenix moves on to the CAA semifinals, where it will face the winner of the match between third-seeded James Madison University and sixth-seeded Towson University. Elon beat both schools at the beginning of the month in Harrisonburg, Virginia, winning 4-3 against the Dukes April 2 and 4-0 against the Tigers April 3. Anderson believes the previous success helps Elon, but knows of a caveat.
“I think it does, but I think also, we know they’re going to come hard at us,” Anderson said. “They’ll be battling really hard, so we have to be ready. But we’ll take care of the process and focus on a couple of things in each of the games and let the results take care of themselves.”
There is rain in the forecast Saturday morning, but the match is still scheduled for 2 p.m. at the Jimmy Powell Tennis Center on Elon’s campus, after the men’s semifinals at 10 a.m. The times are subject to change.