The ASU women’s tennis team ended the season as they started it: on fire. With a 17-5 record, the Sun Devils are headed into the Pac-12 tournament with the momentum they wanted at the beginning of the season.
As one of the hottest teams entering the Pac-12 Tournament, ASU will get a first-round bye as a three-seed, tied for the highest in program history.
On Thursday the team will play against No. 6 USC in the quarterfinals as they return to the Pac-12 Championships once again.
Associate head coach Matt Langley said their goal at the beginning of the season was to make the National Indoor Tournament. They weren’t able to make that goal, but he believes they have played better and better since then.
"We’ve got a good group of girls that love to play tennis and work hard, which I think is a good thing, and that makes good teams," Langley said.
Coming down the stretch of the season, ASU ended the season on a good note, starting with a big win over USC.
"We’ve had some good, nice wins, but this was probably the best one … I think this will give the kids a little shot in the arm to help us finish off the season," head coach Sheila McInerney said.
The win versus USC on April 7 was sorely needed. ASU had lost three of their four games previously, including a very close 3-4 loss against no. 15 Stanford. McInerney and Langley believed that the win was the season's best moment. The Trojans came into the game ranked No. 29 in the country. Still, the Sun Devils were able to dispatch them 4-1 behind big wins from junior Marianna Argyrokastriti and freshman Chelsea Fontenel.
That win was the first of five straight to end the regular season, with all five coming against top-55 opponents. ASU started their season off with a five-game win streak as well. All five were at home, a harbinger of things to come for the rest of the season.
ASU ended the season with an undefeated home season for the first time in program history, and their home win streak, dating back to last season, was extended to 20 games. The team ended the season 15-0 at home, 7-3 in their conference, and ranked No. 22 in the country.
The Sun Devils finished the regular season with two singles players ranked in the top 125 nationally and a top 25-ranked doubles tandem. Fontenel and junior Giulia Morlet were ranked 104 and 122, respectively, while the doubles team of graduate student Domenika Turkovic and sophomore Patricija Spaka finished the year ranked 24th in the country.
Morlet also had a lot of success with her doubles partner, sophomore Sedona Gallagher. The tandem finished the season with a sparkling 13-2 record, a team-best. On the singles side, Argyrokastriti lead the team with 18 wins.
Playing together was one of the most significant sentiments of the team as a whole. Fontenel said that her main goal coming into the season was to play with her teammates and enjoy being part of a team. But as the end of her freshman year comes closer, she and the team have met their high expectations.
"I think that win was the first day where we showed what we are capable of," Fontenel said. "We want to finish strong. We were saying, 'If we’re not playing our best tennis at the beginning of the season, that’s fine as long as we play our best at the end.'"
Edited by Walker Smith, Jasmine Kabiri and Grace Copperthite.