The ASU tennis players get to start their spring break on a Rocky Mountain high note.
Playing well above Tempe’s measly 1100 feet in elevation, the Sun Devils beat Colorado and Utah on the road, pushing their wining streak to nine straight matches.
ASU (12-1, 2-0 Pac-12) traveled to Colorado (6-5, 1-1 Pac-12) on Friday, beating the Buffaloes 4-2. The team followed that win with a 5-2 victory over Utah (7-3, 0-1 Pac-12) on Sunday.
“I’m really happy and happy for the girls,” ASU coach Sheila McInerney. “I thought we played well overall. We had two matches indoors, we weren’t used to that and I thought we battled well.”
Friday’s match against Colorado started like almost every match they’ve had all year: By winning the doubles point.
With the 1-0 lead from doubles, senior Jacqueline Cako won her singles match 6-4, 7-5 to give the Sun Devils a 2-0 lead.
Losses from freshman Desirae Krawczyk and sophomore Leighann Sahagun evened the match up at 2-2, but Stephanie Vlad would win her ninth straight match and set the stage for senior Hannah James to secure the win for ASU for the second consecutive match.
After winning on Friday, the Sun Devils spent Saturday traveling to Utah who had just beaten UA 5-2 on Friday.
“Utah we knew was going to be a tough team, we lost to them last year at our place,” McInerney said. “They were really geared for this match.”
ASU repaid the favor Sunday.
The Sun Devils started by, once again, winning the doubles point behind a close 9-8 win from seniors Jacqueline Cako and Nicole Smith over the No. 17 pairing of Utah junior Paige Miles and sophomore Tereza Bekerova.
After claiming the doubles point, things quickly fell in to place for the Sun Devils.
“We came out really strong in singles,” McInerney said. “Jacq (Cako) won pretty handily against a good player, (freshman) Ebony (Panoho) got off the court quickly and then Stephanie (did) so we were up 4-0 pretty quickly, so that really helped.”
With the victory in hand, Krawczyk went on to win one more match for ASU 6-1, 7-6(4), finalizing the 5-2 win.
Part of the Sun Devils’ strategy for the weekend was to leave early in order to give them some extra time to acclimatize to the conditions.
“Coming a day early was very beneficial for us to get two (practices) in rather than just the one,” McInerney said, “By Friday the girls felt pretty comfortable.”
More than just the altitude, the team also had to adjust to playing indoors for the first time this season.
“The conditions are faster, the speed of the ball is a lot quicker…the lighting is different it takes a little bit to get used to,” McInerney said.
Next up for the Sun Devils will be to enjoy their spring break and relax after winning five matches in 10 days. The team will have three days off before getting ready for Oregon in Eugene on March 22.
1.) Cako/N. Smith def. Steur/Sanders: 8-6
2.) Janssens/Manzi Tenorio vs. J. Smith/Panoho: 5-5 (DNF)
3.) Sahagun/Krawczyk def. Sperry/Quevedo, 8-2
1.) Cako def. Julyette Steur: 6-4, 7-5
2.) Winde Janssens def. Krawczyk: 4-6, 6-0, 6-3
3.) Dhany Quevedo def. Sahaun: 2-6, 7-6(3), 7-5
4.) Vlad def. Erin Sanders: 6-2, 6-4
5.) James def. Carla Manzi Tenorio: 6-2, 6-3
6.) Panoho vs. Mazy Waltrous: 6-4 (DNF)
1.) Cako/N. Smith def. No. 17 Tereza Bekerova/Paige Miles: 9-8
2.) J. Smith/ Panoho def. Natasha Smith/Elena Najera-Salas: 8-6
3.) Callie Craig/Sarah Pham def. Krawczyk/Sahagun: 6-7 (DNF due to Injury)
1.) Cako def. Tereza Bekerova: 6-3, 6-2
2.) Krawczyk def. Pham 6-1, 7-6(4)
3.) Craig def. Sahagun: 7-6(13), 6-0
4.) Vlad def. Smith: 7-5, 6-4
5.) Lucia Kovarcikova def. James: 4-6, 6-1, 6-4
6.) Panoho def. Miles: 6-2, 6-1
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