Tech’s women’s tennis team opened the spring season at the Michigan Invitational this past weekend — a three-day tournament in which the Jackets competed individually against athletes from the University of Michigan, the University of Georgia and Ohio State, all ranked top 20 by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association. Although Tech came in at No. 20, the Jackets aimed to start the spring strong in Ann Arbor.
On Friday, Tech took on No. 3 ranked Georgia in doubles and No. 5 ranked Michigan in singles. Georgia boasts the No. 15 and No. 58 ranked doubles partners in Guillermina Grant and Mai Nirundorn, and Aysegul Mert and Dasha Vidmanova, respectively, while Michigan presents four top 100 ranked players.
The Jackets did not fold easily, as junior Kylie Bilchev and sophomore Alejandra Cruz pushed Grant and Nirundorn to their limit, ultimately dropping the match to the Bulldogs on a 5-7 decision. Senior Carol Lee and junior Kate Sharabura fought tough but dropped their match against Grant and Nirundorn pair 6-1. Freshmen duo Scarlett Nicholson and Given Roach dominated their match. Against Georgia’s Anastasiia Lopata and Mell Reasco, the two freshmen recorded a 6-1 win in Nicholson’s Jacket debut.
Following doubles play, Tech competed strongly in singles against the Michigan Wolverines, forcing half of the eight matches to three sets. Ranked No. 107 and No. 123, Lee and Bilchev matched up against Michigan’s No. 10 ranked Kari Miller and No. 39 ranked Julia Fliegner, respectively. Lee lost the first set 2-6, took the second set 6-2, but dropped the final set to Miller 3-6. Despite the loss, Lee had a strong showing against a top 10 ranked opponent. Roach took her opponent, Jaedan Brown, to three sets after an extended tiebreaker to win the first set 10-8, but dropped the following sets 1-6 and 0-6. Tech senior Mahak Jain battled against No. 94 ranked Gala Mesochoritou. Jain fell short in in the first set 5-7, clawed back to take the second set 6-4 and ultimately dropped the final set 2-6. Sharabura smashed a three-set match against Bayley Sheinin, bouncing back from a 4-6 first set to win the following two 7-5 and 6-4. Sharabura’s win against Sheinin was the Jacket’s only singles win against the Wolverines.
The Jackets took the courts in singles play against No. 14 ranked Ohio State, headlined by No. 15 ranked Cantos Siemers and No. 85 ranked Luciana Perry. Following her singles victory on Friday, Sharabura pushed her Buckeye opponent Audrey Spencer to a super tiebreaker, following a 5-7 first set with a firm 6-1 set. Ultimately, she couldn’t finish the job in the tiebreaker, ending at 7-10. Tech freshman Meera Jesudason also forced a super tiebreaker against the Buckeye’s Alessia Cau, mirroring the sets 6-4 and 4-6 before dropping the super tiebreaker 9-11. The rest of the Jackets struggled as well — Ohio State swept Tech on Saturday.
Sunday’s success in doubles’ action against Michigan and Ohio State showcased the Jackets’ grit to conclude a tough weekend.
Tech took the courts against Michigan first, winning three of four matches. Roach and Nicholson continued their dominance in doubles matches, taking down the Wolverines’ pairing of Fliegner and Lily Jones with a 6-2 score.
The senior duo of Jain and Ruth Marsh similarly defeated Mesochoritou and Sheinin in a 6-4 match. Bilchev and Jesudason took their opponents, Reese Miller and Piper Charney, to a tiebreaker before grinding
out a gutsy 7-5 win.
Lee and Sharabura battled against the Wolverines’ No. 8 ranked pairing of Kari Miller and Jaedan Brown, as the match stood at 5-5. Miller and Brown finished powerful, as Lee and Sharabura dropped the next two sets,
closing the match 5-7.
Tech finished the weekend in doubles play against Ohio State, who have two top 25 ranked doubles pairs. The doubles pair of Roach and Nicholson stalled against the Buckeyes’ pair of Maddie Atway and Teah Chavez. Tech dropped the match 3-6 while Bilchev and Jesudason fell in tiebreaker to Cau and Dani Schoenly in a 7-6 finish.
Lee and Sharabura found their stride against Spencer and Perry, taking the match 6-4. Following their win earlier in the day, Marsh and Jain defeated Siemers and Megan Basil in the tiebreaker, a successful 7-6 match.
Up next, the Jackets look ahead to Saturday, Jan. 20, as they travel to the University of Central Florida to battle the Knights in the first serve of the dual season in Orlando, Florida.