The No. 7 Tech’s women’s tennis team went back in action last Friday as they traveled to Wisconsin for the 2009 ITA National Women’s Indoor Championships. In Tech’s first match of the tournament, they faced No. 13 Fresno State. The Bulldogs struck first as they swept doubles and received the first point in the match. In singles play, freshman Irina Falconi won the first point for the Jackets to tie up the match score with her win over Melanie Gloria 6-1, 6-3. Falconi took the reins at the number one spot on the lineup and performed successfully as junior Amanda McDowell was not feeling well while suffering from a virus. Sophomore Sasha Krupina gave Tech the lead at the No. 5 position over Laura Pola after a third set, 6-2, 3-6, 6-4 win. Fresno State then jumped ahead 3-2 as they won the next two matches against McDowell and senior Christy Striplin. Sophomore Noelle Hickey took the next match 6-4, 6-3, and freshman Viet Ha Ngo took the final match, 6-3, 6-1, in the last seed to secure the Jackets’ win over Fresno State with a close 4-3 final score.
On Valentine’s Day, the Jackets faced a tough No. 2 California. They came out strong and swept all three doubles matches. The Golden Bears took a commanding 3-0 lead in singles as Claire Icinkas defeated Hickey 6-3, 6-3, and Falconi dropped her match to Jana Juricova 6-3, 7-5. Ngo won her second match on the weekend and kept Tech still in the match with her win over Marion Ravelojaona 7-5, 6-0. McDowell’s win at the top spot over No. 13 Marina Cossou 6-0, 6-3, helped close in on California’s lead of 3-2. The Golden Bears ended Tech’s hope of comeback when Mari Anderson defeated Striplin 6-1, 6-4 and handed the girls their first loss of the season. The loss ended Tech’s hope of winning the ITA National Indoor Championship three years in a row. The match ended 5-2 after Krupina lost her match shortly after in a tiebreaker 6-0, 5-7, 1-0 (10-5).
Even with the loss against California on Saturday, Tech’s weekend wasn’t quite over. On Sunday the Jackets faced the defending national champion and No. 3 ranked UCLA in the consolation quarterfinal. The Jackets came out strong and won their first doubles point of the weekend as Tech took two of the three doubles matches. In singles, Hickey opened up fast, pushing the Jackets’ lead to 2-0 when she went past the Bruins’ Ashley Joelson 6-1, 6-4. UCLA surged ahead again as they took the next three matches to bring the match score to 3-2. In those three matches, the Bruins Yasmin Schnack defeated Falconi 6-3, 6-1, Andrea Remynse defeated McDowell 7-5, 6-1, and Carling Seguso defeated Krupina 6-2, 6-3. Ngo, who didn’t drop one match on the weekend, continued her streak with a win over Ana Victoria Lind 6-2, 6-4 and brought the Jackets even 3-3 in the match. The winner of the overall match came down to the last singles of the day. Striplin, who had not seen any victories previously in the weekend, was set to take on Maya Johansson in the No. 3 position. Johansson was a familiar face to the Jackets as she played for Tech last year before transferring to UCLA after the school year ended last spring. Striplin and Johansson went into a third set and then a tiebreaker before Striplin came out on top in the match with her 6-2, 2-6, 7-6 (3) win and gave the Jackets a final 4-3 victory over the Bruins. Tech’s schedule will not lighten up as they will face No. 1 ranked Northwestern at home this Sunday.