ASU tennis unable to win in weekend against Cal and Stanford
The No. 19 ASU women's tennis team traveled to California to take on two of its toughest opponents of the season: No. 13 California and No. 5 Stanford.
The Sun Devils (16-4, 3-2 Pac-12) lost both matches. They fell 7-0 to Cal, marking the first time ASU was shut out this season, then lost 6-1 to Stanford. The weekend had some positives, though.
The weekend saw two different versions of sophomore No. 60 Stephanie Vlad, who played against two highly ranked opponents.
Against Cal on Saturday, Vlad competed well, losing 6-2, 6-1, to No. 29 freshman Denise Starr. This was a similar result to the semifinals of the Thunderbird Invitational, in which Starr defeated Vlad 6-3, 6-3.
Coach Sheila McInernery said Vlad simply was not as good as Starr. It was Vlad’s second consecutive loss after not losing since the Pepperdine match Feb. 15.
Sunday was a better day for Vlad, despite another loss. She played against senior No. 2 Kristie Ahn and was defeated 6-3, 6-4.
McInerney said Vlad played well, taking Ahn to multiple match points.
Sophomore No. 81 Desirae Krawczyk’s weekend started on a rough note against senior No. 30 Anett Schutting. Krawczyk lost the first set 6-1, and fought in the second but fell 6-4.
The Stanford match started on the same foot for Krawczyk; she lost 6-3 in the first set. She won her first set of the weekend in set two by a score of 6-4, putting the match in a tiebreaker against sophomore No. 39 Krista Hardebeck.
Krawczyk pulled ahead and won 10-5, accounting for ASU's sole point of the weekend.
“She still has a shot to get into the individual NCAA,” McInerney said. “Any time you beat ranked kids, that really helps you.”
Freshman Kassidy Jump, who was switched from the fourth court to the third for the weekend, continued her stretch of solid play in the outing. She played against junior No. 14 Zsofi Susanyi of Cal and made Susanyi work for the win.
“(Jump’s) really worked hard on her serve,” McInernery said.
Her improved serving has eliminated a majority of easy points given away and is turning her into a threat.
Jump drove the first set to 6-all before Susanyi won the set. She fought similarly in the second set but Susanyi won 6-4.
On Sunday, Jump played against freshman No. 28 Carol Zhao. Jump provided another strong first set, fighting tough before falling 7-5, and lost the third set 6-3.
“There were some good individual signs, so I think that’s a good thing,” McInerney said of the team.
Doubles, however, transformed back into the inconsistent showing that it has often been this season. Freshman Alex Osborne, who moved to the one spot to play with Krawczyk for the weekend, played well in the match against Cal in an unfinished match.
“I thought Alex and Desirae played pretty well,” McInerney said after the match.
The duo could not win a single point against Stanford though, falling 8-0.
Junior Leighann Sahagun was unable to get out of her slump in singles. She lost 6-2, 6-0 on Saturday before falling 6-3, 6-2 on Sunday. Both she and McInerney have stated that her confidence has faltered, which has enabled her cold stretch.
ASU will have to play better to compete with Pac-12 powerhouses.
McInerney said the weekend showed her club what the best teams look like: They go deep into points and simply don’t make mistakes.
“You just have to play consistently well and strong in practice to try and simulate these matches,” she said.
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