Memphis Completes Impressive Run at All-American Championships
Oct. 5, 2011
MEMPHIS, Tenn. - Four members of the Memphis women's team have completed an impressive run at the 2011 ITA/Riviera All-American Championships with all four Tigers winning at least one match against the best competition in the nation.
"This was a good tournament for us," said Memphis head coach Lee Taylor Walker. "Last year we only had two players invited and we went 0-2. This year, four of our girls were invited and we went 4-4. We're not yet where we want to be, but we're definitely better than where we were. This tournament allowed us to get some confidence, learn a lot and show we can compete with the top players in the country. We're looking forward to some big breakthroughs in the next few weeks, especially with us hosting USTA/ITA Regionals."
Junior standout Courtney Collins advanced the furthest of the Memphis players as she reached the second round of the Qualifying Draw. Ranked No. 78 in the ITA's preseason rankings, Collins easily dispatched her first-round opponent, Maria Fucillo, 6-2, 6-2. The win over the player from Virginia who came through the pre-qualifying draw allowed Collins to remain standing with the top 56 players in the nation heading into the second round. There, Collins fought a tough battle against No. 29 Natalie Pluskota from the University of Tennessee but fell 6-3, 7-6 (3).
"Courtney's second round match was a quality match," said Walker. "She played well and had some opportunities. There were just a couple points that could've gone either way but didn't fall for her. She's definitely improving; she showed this week that she's tough mentally as well as physically."
Fellow Tiger Mariya Slupska was also invited to the event to participate in the Pre-Qualifying Singles Draw. She picked up a big 7-5, 6-3, win over No. 119 Madeline Geibert (Nebraska) in the first round to advance. In the second round, Slupska faced USC's Zoe Scandalis but couldn't get past the top-rated freshman, falling 6-4, 6-2.
Two Memphis doubles teams were selected to participate in the Championships as part of the Pre-Qualifying Doubles Draw. The duos of Collins and Kelly Gray and Slupska and Stefanie Mikesz each won their first-round matches by wide margins, 8-2 for Collins/Gray and 8-3 for Slupska/Mikesz. However, neither team was able to advance past the second round as Collins/Gray lost 8-3 to a team from the University of Texas and Slupska/Mikesz fell 8-3 to a pair from Duke who eventually advanced all the way out of pre-qualifying.
Next up for the Tigers is the USTA/ITA Ohio Valley Regionals, which Memphis will host at The Racquet Club, Oct. 14-18. Players from several schools will be competing for a berth in the ITA Nationals.