Rough Weekend for Rocket Tennis
March 28, 2017
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By Jackson Rogers
Associate Sports Editor
The University of Toledo men and women’s tennis teams lost in conference play over the weekend. Men faced off against Ball State University and Western Michigan University while the women’s team took on Akron University and Bowling Green State University.
Toledo (9-9, 0-1 MAC) dropped its first conference match of the season to Ball State (9-7, 1-1 MAC), 6-1, on March 25.
“If you read in between the lines, this was an incredibly tight match from start to finish,” said head coach Al Wermer. “We just couldn’t capitalize on enough chances. Tomorrow’s a new day.”
BSU jumped ahead, 1-0, by posting victories at No. 1 and No. 3 doubles. Second-year players Vince Anzalone and Serjen Olmedo were the only UT doubles team to take down their opponents. The Rocket duo defeated BSU’s Conner Anderson and Tom Carney, 6-4, at the No. 2 position. Fourth-year Stjepan Sisko and first-year Thawin Suksathaporn returned to their usual post at the No. 1 spot and put up a tough battle against their competition. Sisko and Suksathaporn eventually fell, 7-6 (12-10).
Anzalone recorded the sole UT point by downing Andrew Stutz, 6-3, 6-4, at the No. 2 singles position. All four Rockets in positions three, four, five and six recorded victories in their opening sets. Ball State was able to pull through with wins in sets two and three to claim all four matches.
On March 26, the Rockets were defeated 6-1 by Western Michigan. With the loss, the Rockets drop to 9-10 on the season while the Broncos improve to 11-6.
Second-year Luca Vitosevic recorded UT’s only victory in the singles competition. Vitosevic defeated his Bronco opponent Matej Svjetlicic in a tough matchup at No. 3 singles. After dropping his first set, 6-3, he battled his way back to clinch the victory 7-6 (7-5), 10-7.
“We had some bright spots, but some bad spots as well,” Wermer said. “After the team match was decided, we had a gritty effort by our top three players.”
The Rocket men will welcome Buffalo April 2 to the Glass City for another MAC rivalry at 2 p.m.
Toledo suffered a tough 4-3 loss to east division foe Akron on March 24 at the UT varsity tennis courts. With its first conference loss of the season, UT falls to 8-6 overall.
“This was a heartbreaking loss for the team,” said head coach Tracy Mauntler. “We battled like crazy in singles, and we fell just a bit short.”
Akron dominated in the doubles competition. The Zips jumped ahead 1-0 with a pair of 6-2 victories at both first and second doubles.
The Rockets tried to battle back but could not pull through with enough singles victories to claim the match.
Third-year Colleen O’Brien ended Rita Pedroso’s 12-match win streak and handed Pedroso just her third loss of the season. O’Brien sailed to a 6-1, 6-3 win over her opponent at No. 3 singles.
“Colleen was on fire right out of the gate,” Mauntler said. “She defeated an extremely good player in Rita Pedroso.”
First-year Mimi Kendall-Woseley defeated Ariadna Blinova in a three-set battle. Blinova, who has won 11 of her last 12 matches, claimed set one, 6-4. Kendall-Woseley answered back with straight-set wins (6-3, 6-1) to claim the match.
“Mimi defeated 2016 MAC Player of the Year Ariadna Blinova by playing with extreme maturity and resilience,” Mauntler said. “Her ability to close out her points was the difference in the match.”
Third-year Megan Miller recorded the Rockets’ last victory against the Zips. Miller fell behind 6-2 in the opening set but evened the score with a 6-2 victory of her own in set two. Miller powered through a close 7-6 (4) third set to seal in the victory.
On March 26, UT dropped a close match against rival Bowling Green in the Battle of I-75. The Rockets were defeated 4-3, dropping their record to 8-7 overall.
“This was a tough loss,” Mauntler said. “Bowling Green came out with a lot of fire and it showed; they played very well. We lost a very close doubles point, and that’s what it really came down to in the end.”
The Rocket pair of second-year Claire Aleck and Miller put up a tough fight against Falcons Polina Radeva and Ayumi Sasaki at No. 2 doubles, but unfortunately came up short, 7-6 (7).
Both Miller and Kendall-Woseley won in straight sets in the singles competition. At the No. 2 spot, Kendall-Woseley downed her opponent, 7-5, 6-3. Miller defeated BGSU’s Emily Witt, 6-1, 6-2, at fifth singles.
Toledo women’s tennis will hit the road again March 31 to take on west division foe Western Michigan in Kalamazoo. The matchup against the Broncos is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m.