ASU women’s tennis looked to be on its way to a quick victory after winning the doubles point quickly against No. 74 San Diego. In singles, however, it was not easy.
Doubles matches went without a hiccup. Junior Leighann Sahagun and sophomore Ebony Panoho attacked their opponents with powerful hits and won 8-1.
Sophomore Desirae Krawczyk and freshman Kassidy Jump took a little longer to finish their match, but they played well cohesively as a unit. They attacked the net together on multiple hits and had solid serves as a whole.
Jump overpowered her hits from the baseline a few times, and the ball landed just outside the line. On the net, though, she rarely missed.
The two won 8-2.
Sophomore Stephanie Vlad and junior Joanna Smith looked ready to complete their match as well. After taking a quick 5-0 lead, they stumbled but led 7-4. They did not finish their set, as Jump/Krawczyk clinched the point for ASU.
Vlad did not let the stumble in doubles affect her play in singles. She won her match almost a half an hour before any other match was completed.
“I tried to stay up in the court and kind of attack her backhand side,” Vlad said.
This, combined with her mixing the pace and gaining court positioning, allowed her to win 6-1, 6-2 and watch the rest of her teammates compete.
Krawczyk took longer to finish her match and struggled at times, but the score came out in huge favor for her and ASU: She won 6-3, 6-2.
When Vlad was finishing, Panoho looked to be nearing the conclusion of her match as well. She won the first set 6-0, was winning the second 3-0, and was clearly overpowering her opponent with hard hits and accurate serves.
Freshman Janine Koleta gained the edge and counteracted Panoho’s power. Koleta brought the score to 3-2, and the two were matched throughout the rest of their set.
“Good people aren’t going to go away,” ASU coach Sheila McInerney said. “This is competition.”
On the court next to Panoho, junior Joanna Smith was slowing down after a fast start. She won the first set 6-2, but her opponent was fighting to force a tiebreaker.
“Eb and Jo were under a little bit of pressure in that we hadn’t clinched the match,” McInerney said.
Smith fell behind 4-3 in the second set before pulling ahead and eventually winning 6-4. This clinched the match for ASU, but the other games continued.
Minutes later, Panoho let out a victory cry after powering a rocket onto the right of the court and past Koleta. She won the second set 7-5.
ASU was winning 5-0 at this point. The two remaining singles matches did not look good for ASU.
Sahagun lost her first set 6-2 but looked determined to retaliate in the second set. She took the first point in the set.
Her accuracy on powerful hits was ebbing, though. She hit the net several times and her serves were inconsistent.
“I thought she made way too many unforced errors,” McInerney said.
Sahagun and her opponent, senior Anna Depenau, went back and forth. The score was tied at four, but Depenau pulled away and won the second set 6-4.
Jump’s match was no easier. Jump managed to win 7-6 in the first mach, but fell behind 5-2 in the second. She lost that set 4-6.
Neither Jump nor her opponent, freshman ColombaDiFiippo, would give up ground. The normal 10-point tiebreaker led to twelve extra hits. The two were tied at 16 when DiFiippo got the upper hand and won 18-16.
“It was brutal,” Vlad said.
ASU won 5-2 in a close match.
“We knew San Diego was going to be strong,” McInerney said.
San Diego lost to UA 7-0 on Saturday. McInerney said this game was much different.
“San Diego came in and played very well,” she said.
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