Tennis falters at ITA Regional

The weekend in San Diego proved disappointing for the ASU tennis team.

“We didn’t get the results we wanted or needed,” Coach Sheila McInerney said.

Play started at the ITA Southwestern Regional on a high note Thursday with senior Michelle Brycki and junior Hannah James both earning singles victories.

Brycki, who was seeded ninth in the tournament, defeated Jordan Dockendorf of UCSB 6-4, 6-3. James took USD’s Maria Raygada in two sets, going 6-0, 6-2.

In doubles play, the pair of junior Nicole Smith and freshman Joanna Smith defeated Anais Dallara and Karolina Rozenberg LBSU, 8-6.

The pairs of Brycki/James and senior Sianna Simmons and freshman Leighann Sahagun both had first-round byes.

Friday brought success in doubles competition.

The pair of Smith/Smith grabbed another win, this time against Cara Brown and Laura Claus of USD 9-7.

Sahagun/Simmons also had a victory Friday defeating Taylor Raney and Natalie McKay of UC Riverside 9-7.

In singles play James and Brycki both fell to their opponents in the round of 32.

Danielle Lao of USC defeated James 6-2, 6-1, and teammate Sabrina Santamaria felled Brycki 6-1, 6-3.

In the consolation round Joanna Smith earned a pair of victories.

Saturday proved to be the Sun Devil’s demise.

In doubles competition the pair of Smith/Smith faced Sierra Ellison and Roxanne Ellison of San Diego State. The match was a hard fought battle but the SDSU pair won 8-5.

The remaining ASU doubles team of Simmons/Sahagun dropped their match 8-1 to Christian/Santamaria of USC.

In singles consolation play, Joanna Smith played a rough three set match against Hawai’i Hilo’s Kelsey Daguio. Smith tied up the match but eventually fell to Daguio 6-4, 3-6, 6-4.

Coach McInerney said she didn’t want to fall into “gloom and doom” thinking, but the team definitely didn’t meet their own expectations.

“There were matches that were winnable that we didn’t take,” McInerney said.

With only one more fall tournament, the team now has a sense of urgency about improving.

“This was a good barometer of where we stand,” McInerney said. “We need to get better.”

McInerney spoke of her confidence in the Sun Devil tennis program to be able to learn from this lack luster tournament.

“There’s a saying ‘if you don’t get better you get worse’ – our competition has gotten better and now we need to too,” McInerney said.

For some of the players this tournament was an “eye-opener” McInerney said.

Upperclassmen players have stepped up into leadership roles and the team chemistry is good, McInerney said.

But the Sun Devils aren’t satisfied yet and they want better results.

“This is a matter of being tough,” McInerney said. “It’s not easy, you have to be physically and mentally committed.”

Now the team has until Nov. 4 to prepare for the final fall tournament, the Thunderbird Invitational hosted by ASU.

“It’s a very good tournament,” McInerney said. “There’s equal competition over the three days with strong teams.”

Moving forward the team is continuing to stay positive.

“If the results aren’t what you expect you need to fix the problem,” McInerney said.

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