Tennis sits on postseason bubble after loss to UA

Friday was not the Sun Devils’ day.

The ASU women’s tennis team looked to extend its winning streak against in-state rival UA to eight years, but the Sun Devils lost 7–0.

“It wasn’t fun,” coach Sheila McInerney said. “We pretty much high-tailed it out of Tucson with our tails between our legs.”

The No. 37 Sun Devils defaulted the No. 3 doubles position because of injuries.

The pair of junior Hannah James and freshman Leighann Sahagun won their doubles match 9–7 over Wildcats senior Sarah Landsman and freshman Hailey Johnson.

“It was good to see Hannah and Leighann play well,” McInerney said. “They were able to stay tough and win the match.”

Senior Michelle Brycki and freshman Joanna Smith didn’t win their doubles match, but were close.

“Michelle and Joanna were up at one point and then didn’t convert,” McInerney said. “Once UA got on top, they couldn’t get over the hump.”

McInerney said she was pleased with how the team competed in doubles, but singles were a different story.

“I was really disappointed with how we played,” she said. “I thought we didn’t fight the way we usually do.”

Arizona won all six of the singles matches in two sets.

“The saying goes ‘the ship sunk together,’ and that was the case this weekend,” McInerney said.

Sophomore Jacqueline Cako returned to play singles this weekend after being out with an injury.

Sophomore Lacey Smyth defeated her 6–2, 6–3.

“Jacqueline gave a great effort and finished her match, but she’s nowhere near 100 percent,” McInerney said. “She competed well, but it’s hard to not practice for two weeks and come back.”

When dealing with injuries on the team, McInerney said there is less room for mistakes.

“With injuries, you have to play even tougher and everyone has to hold onto the rope,” she said. “We all let go of the rope, and it’s certainly not a good feeling.”

With this loss wrapping up the regular season, the Sun Devils are left with an 11-9 overall record and, in McInerney’s opinion, room for improvement.

“We didn’t finish strong this season and that’s necessary for success,” she said. “We have to play our best tennis at the end of the year. This year, with injuries, some of that was out of our control.”

ASU will travel to the Pac-12 tournament in Ojai, Calif., from April 26 to 29.

“We’re looking to play the healthy ones, Michelle, Leighann and Joanna,” McInerney said. “It will be good experience for them to play in the Pac-12 tournament.”

True success is measured by postseason play, McInerney said.

“Of course we want a good season, but the thing that matters the most is if we get into the postseason,” she said. “Right now, we’re on the edge and that’s not where we wanted to be.”

 

Reach the reporter at dkmcinty@asu.edu

 

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