ASU tennis loses close match to coach Sheila McInerney's alma mater
No. 19 ASU women's tennis traveled to California to play against No. 13 USC, the alma mater of head coach Sheila McInerney; however, the coach said there was no sentimental value.
“30 years later … I don’t think it has really any effect at all,” she said, referring to her extensive tenure of coaching at ASU.
Despite the lack of sentimental value, a win would have been nice. The Sun Devils (18-5, Pac-12 5-3 )were unable to pull it out, however, falling to USC 4-2.
The doubles lineup went through immense changes; all three courts changed from last week’s matches.
Sophomore Desirae Krawczyk and junior Leighann Sahagun played on the first court. Junior Joanna Smith and freshman Kassidy Jump were on court two, and court three consisted of sophomore Stephanie Vlad and freshman Alex Osborne.
The second and third courts both lost 8-2, and the match of the first court went unfinished with USC holding a 5-4 lead.
“(We) made a lot of unforced errors,” McInerney said. “We really shot ourselves in the foot.”
She said the teams had played well together in practice. They will get the chance to redeem themselves tomorrow against UCLA.
“We came back and competed really well in the singles,” McInerney said.
She said the Sun Devils were the “aggressors” on the court.
Jump continued her hot streak, defeating senior Kaitlyn Christian 6-3, 6-4.
“Kassidy won in straight sets, but it wasn’t easy,” McInerney said.
She added that Jump had seven-to-eight shot rallies, but stayed up in the court to gain an advantage and a point.
Krawczyk also played well. She took an astronomical leap in Tuesday’s ITA rankings release, jumping from No. 81 to 49. She proved her ranking against USC, winning 6-1, 6-2.
“Des played really well,” McInerney said.
It has become a theme of the season, but was not enough to get the victory against USC. Neither Sahagun nor sophomore Ebony Panoho were able to secure a victory against their respective opponent.
McInerney said Panoho started the match well and took an early lead. Her opponent, junior No. 76 Giuliana Olmos, would not be easily defeated, though.
“Once (Olmos) got ahead of Eb, she was looking to dictate,” McInerney said.
Olmos did. She won 6-3, 6-1.
Sahagun also got an early lead, according to McInerney, but was unable to hold it.
“(She) missed a few easy volleys that she’d normally make and didn’t put enough pressure on (junior Gabriella) DeSimone.”
Sahagun lost 6-2, 6-3.
The turning point, McInerney said, was No. 68 Vlad’s match. She said Vlad was up “a couple points” in set one, but couldn’t maintain the lead and fell 7-5.
“Steph was sort of controlling the match,” McInerney said.
McInerney attributed this to playing on the baseline and being more aggressive than her opponent, junior No. 26 Zoë Scandalis.
Vlad fell 7-5 in the first set, and 6-4 in a similarly close second set. McInerney remarked that if Vlad had been able to maintain her first set lead and carry the momentum into the second set, the match result may have been different, especially after freshman Gussie O’Sullivan won her first set and was tied 6-6 in set two.
That didn’t happen, though, and ASU fell 4-2.
“We certainly had our chances. I thought we were the more aggressive team,” McInerny said. “We really played to win, which I was happy about.”
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