One more match.
That’s what it’ll take for junior Joanna Smith and freshman Kassidy Jump of ASU tennis to win the doubles invitational at the Ojai Valley Tournament.
The two defeated fourth-seeded freshman Caroline Doyle and senior Amelia Herring of Stanford 8-4 Saturday morning.
“They played really well,” ASU coach Sheila McInerney said. “They were really aggressive.”
This aggression has been key for them on the doubles court. Both are powerful hitters and are able to take advantage of soft hits.
“Jo was moving a lot at the net, Kassidy was setting her up with big groundstrokes,” McInerney said.
She added that they both served well too.
“They just played really solid,” she said.
More remarkable than the fact that the duo making up ASU’s second court defeated the Stanford squad is the fact that Smith and Jump played their first game together April 11. They have created chemistry quickly.
“They play a little bit differently, which they compliment each other well,” McInerney said. “Kass is probably a bigger hitter from the backcourt, whereas Jo’s going to be moving around and putting volleys away at the net.”
Their compatibility and different play styles helped them today; Stanford is one of the all-time great tennis schools, and Doyle is ranked No. 52 individually in the ITA rankings.
This is what helped them knock off the number four seed.
Their compatibility and inverse play style will again be a key factor in the finals tomorrow; they’ll need to utilize each other and continue being aggressive if they are to defeat third-seeded juniors Brynn Boren and Zoë Scandalis of USC.
“They have a tough one tomorrow, they play that very good USC team,” McInerney said.”
During the regular season, the USC players were part of separate doubles teams: Boren was on No. 19 and Scandalis was part of the No. 8 team.
The two defeated the ASU pair of sophomore Ebony Panoho and freshman Alex Osborne 8-1 in the quarterfinals.
Boren was an NCAA finalist last season, McInerney said.
Additionally, Scandalis, ranked No. 27 in singles rankings, knocked ASU sophomore Stephanie Vlad out of the tournament in the round of 32 of the singles championship.
“They’ll have their work cut out for them tomorrow,” McInerney said.
She added that they could win, though, if they stay aggressive and continue playing the way they have been in the tournament.
This will be the first time since 2009 that an ASU player has competed in the finals of any Pac-12 tournament at Ojai Valley. That year, Laila and Nadia Abdala lost in the double’s championship.
Five years later, ASU is back.
“Good for (Smith and Jump),” McInerney said. “It’s a prestigious tournament. It’s 114 years and for them to be in the finals of the invitational … They’re really happy and excited.”
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