ASU tennis doubles team advances to semifinals of Pac-12 championships
The second day of the Pac-12 championships at the Ojai Valley Tournament for ASU tennis was highlighted by a successful run by junior Joanna Smith and freshman Kassidy Jump.
The two ASU athletes, playing in the doubles invitational bracket, began the day against Oregon freshmen Allie and Kadie Hueffner. The match, which ASU coach Sheila McInerney said was not very competitive, ended in an 8-3 ASU victory.
Smith and Jump advanced to the quarterfinals to play against junior Gabriella DeSimone and freshamn Zoe Katz of USC.
The two USC players typically do not team up together in doubles, but Katz is part of the No. 19 doubles team in the nation.
Smith and Jump did not falter, winning 8-4.
“Joanna was moving really well at net. Kassidy was hitting big balls from the back,” McInerney said. “I thought they took the net away from the USC team and they were definitely the more aggressive team.”
Smith and Jump will play in the semifinals Saturday.
Sophomore Ebony Panoho and freshman Alex Osborne also got a win in the doubles invitational bracket. They defeated Washington State sophomores Charlotte Koning and Dajana Ognjenovic in the round of 16.
They then played against what McInerney called a “very, very good USC team” consisting of juniors Brynn Boren and Zoë Scandalis.
The two did not play together in the regular season; however, Boren is half of the No. 19 doubles team and Zoë is part of the No. 8 duo.
Panoho and Osborne lost 8-1.
“(They) really just got outplayed, they were overpowered,” McInerney said. The third team in the doubles invitational round was sophomore Stephanie Vlad and freshman Gussie O’Sullivan. The two have not played together outside of practice, but wanted to compete this weekend.
“It was either play them together or not at all so they wanted to play together,” McInerney said.
They played well and took a 7-5 lead, but couldn’t hold on. The two lost close points and fell 8-7(4), and McInerney said they “probably should’ve won.”
The ASU team competing in the doubles championship bracket was junior Leighann Sahagun and sophomore Desirae Krawczyk. They played against freshman Lauren Marker and senior Kim Stubbe of UA.
“Leighann missed some easy balls early in the match and then Des put some balls in the wrong spots,” McInerney said. “They weren’t that sharp today.”
They lost 8-5 but both players competed well in singles, McInerney said.
Despite the score (6-0, 6-2), the ASU coach emphasized that Sahagun played well against No. 70 USC junior Giuliana Olmos.
“Even though the score didn’t indicate it today, I thought (Sahagun) played quite well,” she said. “Long points, long games, just didn’t win many of them.
As a result, Sahagun was knocked out of the singles invitational in the quarterfinals. However, McInerney said, the tournament should boost her confidence.
“She’s playing better now, when leaving, than she did when she got here,” she said.
Krawczyk got off to a fast start in the singles championship bracket. She was against Cal senior Anett Schutting, a player who defeated Krawczyk in the regular season.
Krawczyk won the first set 6-3 but was unable to maintain the momentum, losing 6-1 in set two.
She took a 4-2 lead in the third set but faltered, losing 5-7.
I was really proud of the way she played,” McInerney said. “She had a great weekend.”
McInerney said this match showed how much Krawczyk has improved since her first match against Schutting.
“Her average play now is getting better on a daily basis,” McInerney said.
This improved play may have earned her a spot in the NCAA tournament.
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