Doubles and Ebony Panoho highlight a two-victory weekend for ASU tennis
ASU tennis pulled out a pair of wins during the weekend, but neither was a runaway victory.
The high point of the weekend was in doubles. The Sun Devils (16-2, 3-0 Pac-12) won the doubles point in both matches, and each court won a point.
ASU coach Sheila McInerney had moved freshman Alex Osborne back into the doubles lineup prior to the weekend.
She said junior Leighann Sahagun and sophomore Ebony Panoho had played without much energy against BYU on March 15, and Osborne brought the aggression and energy needed.
“She’s quite talented,” McInerney said about Osborne. “The more she plays, the better she’ll get.”
Osborne and Sahagun won in both matches.
Another developing storyline is the success of Panoho. She has a tendency to win the first set quickly but to give her opponents an opening in the second set, and they often take advantage of what McInerney calls Panoho’s habit of not “(keeping) her foot on the gas pedal.”
On March 15 against BYU, Panoho won the first set 6-0 before losing the second and third sets.
During the weekend, Panoho drove the pace of the court and got off quickly in both matches. She gave ASU the first singles point against Oregon on Friday and got the third point that proved to be very important against Washington State on Saturday.
If Panoho’s play can remain consistent, it will help against the upcoming Pac-12 opponents.
Off-weekend for top players
Sophomores Stephanie Vlad and Desirae Krawczyk are players upon whom the team can rely to get points.
This weekend was different.
Against Oregon, neither one finished her singles match.
Vlad fought in the first set to pull out a 6-4 victory, but at the time the match was clinched for ASU, she was losing the second set 5-4.
Krawczyk, who eked out a 6-4 victory in her first set and traded blows in the second, began pulling ahead at the end and looked to be in control with a 4-2 lead when the match was called over.
Their play continued to be less-than-dominant against WSU.
Vlad lost 1-6, 1-6 and did not put up much of a challenge to the unranked Elizaveta Luzina, struggling on long rallies and looking tired on the court.
Krawczyk fared better, but didn’t dominate like she typically does. She lost the first set 7-5, and battled for a 6-4 victory in set two before grasping onto a lead in set three and playing her normal, very solid game en route to a 6-1 third set victory.
“Give Des credit for coming back after losing the first set,” McInerney said after the match.
This match victory for Krawczyk clinched the WSU match in ASU’s favor by a score of 4-2 and gave the Sun Devils a weekend sweep, increasing their winning streak to 10 games.
Despite the victories, the Sun Devils may have to play better to defeat their upcoming opponents: No. 16 California on Friday and No. 4 Stanford on Saturday.
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