Tennis finishes fall season strong at Thunderbird

LAST ONE OUT: ASU senior Michelle Brycki returns the ball during a match at the ASU Thunderbird invitational on Sunday. Brycki had a solid tournament but fell in the quarterfinals. (Photo by Lisa Bartoli)

ASU’s women’s tennis team wrapped up their fall season with competitive matches on home court at the Thunderbird Invitational Nov. 4-6.

In doubles play on Friday the pair of senior Michelle Brycki and freshman Joanna Smith defeated the mixed pair of Bonacic of Kansas State and Becker of Ohio State, 8-4.

“Michelle and Joanna are complimentary,” coach Sheila McInerney said.

McInerney said that because Brycki’s a senior and more experienced she can help keep Joanna Smith calm and collected.

Senior Sianna Simmons and freshman Leighann Sahagun fell to Zsofi Susanyi and Alice Duranteau of Cal, 9-8.

“Sianna and Leighann played well together,” McInerny said. “They had a tough match.”

On the singles court Brycki defeated junior Fidan Manashirova of OSU in a tiring three set match, 4-6, 7-6 (4), 6-4.

“It was an up and down match,” McInerney said. “Michelle had the upper hand at first, then lost it, but was tough at the end and finished well.”

Despite a dust storm making conditions less than ideal, Brycki was victorious again, beating Michigan’s Sarah Lee 6-2, 6-1 to earn a place in the quarterfinals.

“This match was much harder than the score says,” McInerney said. “The dust was a problem but she kept to her game plan.”

Junior Nicole Smith played her first singles match in over two years and came out on top, defeating Northwestern freshman Anna Livandaru 7-6 (3), 6-2.

“This was a great weekend for Nicky,” McInerney said. “Knock on wood her knee stays good because she can only get better.”

On the second day of competition Brycki/Joanna Smith’s success continued as they defeated Fresno State’s Jodoin/McQueen 8-2 to start the morning.

“In doubles you just have to be consistent and not make mistakes,” McInerney said.

Brycki, the last Sun Devil left in the main draw, lost in a hotly-contested match with Anett Schutting of Cal 6-2, 6-2 in the quarterfinals.

“I think Michelle tried to do too much and didn’t stay with her game plan,” McInerney said. “Schutting isn’t going to make mistakes and towards the end Michelle unwraveled.”

On the last day of the tournament ASU’s success in doubles continued with Brycki/Nicole Smith defeating Coupez/Claus of USD in a hard fought, 9-8 (7) battle.

Joanna Smith earned a victory in an auxiliary match-up on the singles court. The freshman defeated sophomore Kelsey Becker of OSU 6-0, 6-3.

Susanyi won the main draw defeating her teammate No. 1 junior Taylor Davis, 6-0, 6-2.

While no Sun Devil dominated the tournament, McInerney said the outcome is good.

“This is a good barometer of where we are,” McInerney said. “We’ll face teams from this tournament again and, honestly, they had the upper hand this tournament.”

The fall season is always in flux as players pick up their racquets after a summer of inconsistent play, said McInerney.

“We have a lot of work to do going into the spring,” McInerney said. “It’s good to not be over confident after the fall.”

The team will continue to practice together until the end of the semester, but will adhere to NCAA regulations regarding to offseason practice time.

“Every coach wishes they could spend more time with their team, but we’ll work with what we have,” McInerney said.

Competition will start again for the Sun Devils Jan. 13 in Las Vegas at the Freeman Memorial Tournament.

“The team needs to practice hard over the holidays,” McInerney said. “January comes fast and after that it’s like gangbusters.”

 

Reach the reporter at dkmcinty@asu.edu

 

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