ASU tennis doubles pushes team to victory against ranked duos
No. 40 Purdue came to the desert and expected to compete.
No. 25 ASU didn’t allow them to do so and won the first four matches en route to a 5-2 victory.
“I thought we played pretty well today. Purdue’s a good team,” ASU head coach Sheila McInerney said.
Starting from doubles, the Sun Devils (14-2, 1-0 Pac-12) played aggressively.
Sophomore No. 96 Desirae Krawczyk and freshman Kassidy Jump were against the No. 43 doubles team in the nation.
“We started off with a 2-0 lead, then we let it slip a little bit with unforced errors,” Krawczyk said.
They regained the lead, which Krawczyk attributed to aggression, energy and serves.
Associate head coach Clint Letcher said the two “took advantage of momentum.”
This allowed the pair to win 8-4.
A court over, junior Leighann Sahagun and freshman Alex Osborne were competing.
McInerney said that Sahagun and her partner against BYU, sophomore Ebony Panoho, lacked energy on the court, so she inserted Osborne in Panoho’s place.
“(Osborne’s) not afraid to be aggressive,” McInerney said. “She brings a lot of energy and a lot of pizazz.”
Sahagun and Osborne won their match 8-3, and ASU got the doubles point.
“That’s the key,” McInerney said. “You hit the doubles point, and then you keep the momentum.”
ASU kept the momentum strong by winning five of the first sets. Panoho, who has finished first sets quickly recently, did the same today with a 6-0 victory.
Her second sets have been struggles, but that changed today.
Panoho said she tried to stick to her game plan in the second set more effectively than she had been in past games.
To do so, she said, she kept the ball up on her opponent, sophomore Krisztina Kapitany. Panoho also drove it to Kapitany’s forehand and attempted to use her own forehand as well.
She walked off with a 6-1 victory.
“You’re very rarely going to win that easily, but when you do have that opportunity you just have to put the nail in the coffin,” McInerney said.
Panoho finished and watched sophomore No. 50 Stephanie Vlad take care of Boilermaker (5-5, 1-2 Big Ten) junior Daniela Vidal.
Vlad said Vidal appeared to be tired, almost sick after only a couple games in the first set. Letcher also saw Vidal resting against the fence early in the match.
This led to a 6-1, 6-1 victory for Vlad.
Krawczyk started slow against her own opponent, senior Mara Schmidt, falling behind 3-1.
The two played against each other in doubles, and Krawczyk said this helped her catch up in the singles match.
“I definitely took advantage of her second serve,” Krawczyk said. “(Letcher) helped me during my match and told me to think of it as a pro-shot coming in and being aggressive on it.”
She also said Schmidt had a couple opportunities to get ahead 4-1, but Krawyczk didn’t let her.
“I did a good job of being patient and moving around the court and getting up and winning 10 games in a row,” she said.
Those 10 straight victories gave her a 6-3, 6-0 win and clinched the match for ASU.
“Steph and Des did their thing and made it a lot easier,” McInerney said.
Jump didn’t have as much luck. After pulling ahead 6-5 in the first set, she lost 7-6 before being shut out in set two 6-0.
Sahagun, after winning her first set and losing the second 6-4, 2-6, went into a tiebreaker third set because the match was already clinched.
She produced some solid serves in the tiebreaker and won 10-7.
Freshman Gussie O’Sullivan replaced a struggling junior Joanna Smith in the sixth spot. O’Sullivan won a tightly contested first set 7-5 before dropping set two 6-3 and losing on a tiebreaker that went a few extra serves 12-10.
The win stretches the Sun Devils' win streak to eight games heading into Pac-12 play.
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