Welcher, Kuykendall Claim Titles on Final Day of Memphis Invitational
Nov. 4, 2012
MEMPHIS, Tenn. - Grad Student Tiffany Welcher and freshman Skylar Kuykendall captured titles Sunday at the Memphis Invitational as Welcher was crowned champion of the White Draw, and Kuykendall claimed the same honor in the Gray Draw.
"I am excited for Tiffany and Skylar to come through and win their singles draw," said head coach Lee Taylor Walker. "Winning a tennis match against a quality opponent requires a lot of discipline and passion. For them to do three consecutive mathces is very encouraging. It will be Tiffany's last fall tournament of her college career so it was extra special to see her finish like she did."
After dropping the first set, 6-1, to Purdue's Mara Schmidt, Welcher came roaring back to grab set wins of 6-3 and 6-2 to finish 3-0 over the three-day tournament. Over in the Gray Draw, Kuykendall showed complete dominance in her match, winning 6-1, 6-2 over Tulsa's Saana Saarteinen.
"Skylar is learning so fast," Walker said. "She is starting to understand the focus and intentionality required in keeping the momentum. She dominated her draw and it's nice to see her playing so confident."
In the White Draw Third-Place match, sophomore Alyssa Hibberd fell to Vanderbilt's Ashleigh Antal, 6-2, 6-1. In the Black Draw, freshman Caroline Wegner was overpowered by No. 60 Whitney Ritchie of Oklahoma, falling 6-3, 6-3, while sophomore Liza Tymchenko could not complete her comeback as she was defeated by Oklahoma's Hermon Brhane, 6-4, 1-6, 6-3. Senior Kelly Gray fell in her last match of the tournament with a 6-2, 6-3 loss to Iris Verboven of Ole Miss in the Gray Draw.
"Liza showed some toughness today as her bid to come from behind came up just short," Walker said. "As opposed to her match Saturday, she really fought back and played with a lot of passion to give herself a chance to win over a quality opponent. She has the shots and the attitude we know. Once she starts to understand the momentum principles she will win matches like these today."
The Lady Tigers began the day in doubles against Vanderbilt with Memphis taking two of three matches over the Commodores to help the team capture the doubles point against every opponent over the weekend. The duo of Welcher and Gray brought down the team of Maggie Leavell and Megan Gornet, 8-1, while junior Stefanie Mikesz and Wegner remained undefeated in doubles at the Memphis Invitational with an 8-6 victory over Lauren Mira and Courtney Colton.
"I have never had a player learn our principles and be able to apply them at such a high level as Caroline has," Walker said. "Her and Stefanie are a great team. They have a great balance of fun and focus on the court."
Also in doubles action for the Lady Tigers were Kuykendall and Tymchenko, who fell 8-5 to the No. 51 team of Antal and Marie Casares.
"Doubles is an area we have been giving a lot of attention to so we were all excited to see the positive results of this hard work by taking all of the doubles points this weekend," Walker said. "With the amount of depth our team has this year, it will be extremely difficult for us to lose team matches where we clinch the doubles point. I am confident all of the ladies will keep improving and taking the doubles serious like they have been."
The Lady Tigers will close out their fall season next weekend, Nov. 9-11, at the Dick Vitale Lakewood Ranch Intercollegiate Clay Court Classic in Sarasota, Fla.