Tiger Tennis Successful in First Fall Matches
Sept. 18, 2011
Murfreesboro, Tenn. - The Memphis women's tennis team got the fall season underway Saturday and Sunday at the MT Shootout hosted by Middle Tennessee State. With individual ranking points on the line, three Tigers won their respective brackets, including Mariya Slupska, Stefanie Mikesz and Alyssa Hibberd.
"We feel like we're a strong team," said Memphis head coach Lee Taylor Walker. "We really wanted to build confidence and get those first-match nerves out so I think it went great. Everyone played free and was going after shots. As long as everyone keeps learning and improving, we're going to have a good team. There's really no limit to what we can accomplish."
Senior Slupska won the Blue Singles brackets with three straight-set victories, beating Vanja Tomic from Austin Peay (6-1, 6-1), Yuiri Nomoto from Middle Tennessee (6-1, 6-2) and Carla Nava from Middle Tennessee (6-3, 6-1). Tiger newcomer Tiffany Welcher, a senior transfer from Alabama, also competed in the Blue Singles bracket, winning her first match against Western Kentucky's Monta Reinfelde (4-6, 6-2, 6-2). Welcher then dropped two sets to Nata before bouncing back to defeat Nomoto at 6-2, 6-0, in the consolation bracket.
Competing in the White Singles bracket, sophomore Mikesz also ran through in straight sets with wins over Lipscomb's Jenny Borck (6-0, 6-2), WKU's McKinley Mason (6-1, 6-2) and Middle Tennessee's Marietta Bigus (6-3, 6-0). Mikesz was joined in the White Singles bracket by junior Kelly Gray, who went 2-1 in the tournament with a dominating 6-0, 6-0, win over Austin Peay's Weronika Kurka and a 6-2, 6-2, victory over Mason in the consolation match.
The Raiders bracket also featured a Memphis champion as freshman Alyssa Hibberd immediately announced her presence in the collegiate tennis world with three strai-ght-set triumphs. Hibberd blitzed Western Kentucky's Morgan Freeman 6-0, 6-0, before tallying wins over Lipscomb's Elizabeth Keevil (6-1, 6-3) and Middle Tennessee's Taylor Coffey (6-1, 6-1) to take the bracket.
"Our newcomers have really come in and challenged everyone immediately," said Walker. "That creates a really good competitive environment for us, which really helps us. We're happy with their contributions already."
Junior Andrea Arques-Garcia was the lone Tiger competing in the Lightning Singles bracket and won her first match, 6-3, 6-3, against WKU's Katrina Vucina before dropping her final two contests, including a three-set thriller (6-3, 1-6, 8-10) against Nayara Moraes in the consolation match.
All three Tiger doubles teams also emerged victorious on the weekend with a 9-0 overall record.