WILLIAMSBURG, VA – For the eighth time in as many appearances, the Elon University women’s tennis team advanced to the Colonial Athletic Association championship semifinal round. The Phoenix swept Stony Brook University 4-0 Friday afternoon en route to its quarterfinal victory.
In its first-ever meeting with the Seawolves, the Phoenix jumped out of the gates with a convincing 6-3 doubles win by graduate student Oliva Archer and sophomore Miray Konar. Junior Lizette Reding and senior Sibel Tanik quickly followed up with a 6-2 win of their own to clinch the doubles point for Elon.
“I was really excited with how the team came out in doubles,” head coach Elizabeth Anderson said. “And then I saw them display a lot of grit in singles. They did a really good job of getting it done.“
While the Phoenix swept the Seawolves, every contest was tight and came down to key plays.
Archer won her 15th straight singles match to put the Phoenix ahead 2-0. The win was the 72nd of her career. She keeps running up her recently achieved record of all-time Elon singles matches won.
Senior Julie Ball won the penultimate point for the Phoenix 7-6, 6-4 in arguably the most arduous match of the afternoon. Ball battled back in her first set to force an intense tiebreak in which she prevailed 7-3. Her opponent, Kristi Boro, even suffered a rolled ankle in the second set which paused the match for a medical timeout. Ball said she endured a similar injury last year and can relate to the limitations that a lingering injury had on Boro.
“It’s heartbreaking, especially in their last match,” Ball said. “I’m glad she was able to pull through. It was good to be able to finish the match. I think it will be helpful on my end when we get to tomorrow.”
Reding clinched Elon’s victory just minutes after Ball’s win with a pair of identical 6-3 scores. She said the team’s hard work this season has paid off and has been leading up to the conference tournament.
“We’ve been doing the right stuff,” Reding said. “We’ve been doing everything. It’s in our hands to like, be better every day.”
Reding and Ball said while they were excited about today’s win, their sights are set on tomorrow’s match against William & Mary.
Less than two weeks ago, the Phoenix lost 6-1 to William & Mary at home. Elon’s last four CAA tournament losses have come at the hands of the Tribe, including a 4-1 loss in last year’s championship match at the Jimmy Powell Tennis Center.
Reding said she thinks they have a pretty good chance at defeating William & Mary. She praised the collective talent on Elon’s team and explained just how hungry the Phoenix is to avenge last year’s championship loss.
“We’re going for blood,” Reding said.
Ball said the whole team has corrected the little things that needed to be fixed since their 6-1 loss to William & Mary on April 8. She said the final score might not have been indicative of how close the match was, as out of six singles matches, four went to third sets.
“We really talked about coming together a bit more as a team,” Ball said. “I think we really found our ground and found something we could all buy into. And I think that kind of extra layer of team spirit and fighting for each other more than for ourselves has allowed us to get more of an edge headed into tomorrow.”
Ball also said she believes their recent strides have put Elon in a favorable position heading into tomorrow.
With the win today, Elon moves to 16-6 on the season. The Phoenix looks to tomorrow for a 9 a.m. semifinal matchup against No. 1 William & Mary (13-5) at the Mackesy Tennis Center. The winner will advance to the CAA championship.
Elon’s sole CAA semifinal victory came last season, while the Tribe boasts an impressive 24-2 all-time semifinal record.
“Every day is a new day and we're ready to get after it,” Anderson said.