NACOGDOCHES – Tarleton State women’s tennis wrapped up the fall schedule Sunday afternoon at the Schlief Tennis Invitational at Stephen F. Austin University.
“The good this is we are making strides and the girls seem to be willing to learn,” said head coach Lance Drake. “It’s hard sometimes and you have to learn to ‘knock down the door.’ We still have a lot of work to do if we want to be in the hunt next spring.”
Ashleigh Elward highlighted the weekend for Tarleton State by winning the singles championship of flight E.
The freshman from Australia began the weekend with a 6-1, 7-5 win over Julia Lorca of Stephen F. Austin before handling Sam Houston’s Caitlyn Mitchell 6-1, 6-1 for a trip to the finals. She finished off a perfect singles weekend with a 6-3, 6-3 win in the bracket finals over Karry Wiegand from St. Mary’s.
“Ashleigh played quality matches,” said Drake. “She had better court awareness and smarter play. Her opponent made a good run at her in the second game but Ashley was able to pull it back and get a mark in the win column.”
Tarleton had three competitors go 1-2 on the weekend and advance to the consolation finals of their respective flights.
After falling in the first round of flight C in a decisive third set, freshman Erika Richarme battled back in a hard-fought win over Division I Sam Houston’s Bailey Van Dyke (6-2, 1-6, 1-0) to earn a trip to the finals of the consolation bracket. She fell in her final match 4-6, 2-6 to her competitor from St. Mary’s.
Gabriella Jansson won a tough third-set (7-5, 2-6, 1-0) in the semifinals of the D-flight consolation bracket before falling 4-6, 2-6 in the finals. Ariadna Cabezas’ win came in her second set, 6-3, 3-6, 1-0 against Incarnate Word to advance to the consolation finals.
Luiza Adas dropped all three of her matches in the A-flight of singles play, falling to Division I foes from Sam Houston (6-4, 4-6, 1-0) and Incarnate Word (0-6, 0-6) in the first two rounds and dropping the seventh-place game to St. Mary’s 1-6, 2-6. Stevens had a similar weekend in the B flight with losses to Stephen F. Austin (8-2), Incarnate Word (5-7, 1-6) and Sam Houston (1-6, 4-6).
“Luiza’s first match with Sam Houston was one of the most complete matches in her short career,” said Drake. “It was a back and forth match. It came down to just one unforced error and an unbelievable winner from her opponent. Luiza showed good fight and great focus.”
In doubles play, the tandem of Adas and Richarme advanced to the flight-B championship game with wins over Division I Stephen F. Austin (8-5) and Lamar (8-5) before claiming a second-place finish by falling in the flight finals in a tiebreaker 7-8 (2) to St. Mary’s.
“Erika and Luiza had a good doubles day,” said Drake. “They really started implementing some of the aspects they have been working on and we’re getting more consistent match play from them. The other two teams didn’t fare as well and we’re going to need to continue to improve our doubles game.”
In the same bracket, Stevens and Jansson claimed seventh place by dropping their first two matches 5-8 and 4-8 before winning the seventh-place match by default. Elward and Cabezas dropped three matches to UIW, St. Mary’s and Lamar in flight C to round out the doubles weekend.
Tarleton’s fall schedule has come to an end and the TexAnns will return to action officially in the spring semester.