It would be easy to look at the results of the women’s tennis team at the Cissie Leary Memorial Tennis Invitational this past weekend and wonder if it was the same team as two weekends ago.
After a strong showing at the Old Dominion Tournament that weekend, the Owls struggled mightily at the University of Pennsylvania’s annual tournament. Temple lost early matches with junior Ana Maslesa going the deepest in the competition for the Owls.
Laura Seiverling and Lauren Verrell both lost their opening round matches while Maslesa lost in the second round after earning a first round bye.
In doubles, the tandem of Maslesa and Verrell also lost in the first round.
However, the Owls were not discouraged. While the matches ended in defeat, it was the experience that counted as the Owls focus on building from last season.
Assistant coach Yolanda Duron said this tournament’s difficulty far outweighed the level of Old Dominion’s.
“This (tournament) is a lot higher level of competition,” Duron said. “Everyone did well for this point of the season. The main goal is to prepare for the spring season.”
Coach Traci Green was not present at the tournament. She accepted an offer to attend a conference with United States Olympic Committee in Colorado Springs.
The tournament brought in schools such as Arizona, Harvard, Princeton, Penn State, and Maryland. The tournament was single elimination, but after elimination the players were entered into a consolation tournament.
“The team competed really well, top to bottom,” assistant coach Jason Eckles said. “They all played really tough matches against solid opponents.”
Seiverling lost, 6-4, 6-0, to Penn’s Shelah Chao and Verrell fell, 6-3, 6-3, to Marlena Hall of Penn State. Maslesa dropped her match against Cindy Chu of Harvard, 6-4, 6-1. All three Owls participated in consolation matches.
Seiverling won her first two matches in the consolation bracket before losing in the third round. Maslesa again earned a first-round bye and won her first match before falling to Harvard’s Elisa O’Rain in three sets. Verrell lost her first round consolation match.
A week after reaching the quarterfinals, the doubles team of Maslesa and Verrell lost to Columbia 8-4 in the first round.
“The doubles weren’t as strong because of the tougher competitors,” said Duron, who also wants to see the players jell as a team.
In practice, the Owls have been concentrating on developing and finishing points. Duron said her players are still in the learning process but improving every day.
Temple’s primary goal is to build on last spring’s poor season, in which it went 3-13. The team is also adjusting to new coaches Green and Duron. Assistant student coach Danira Penic said the team lost two key players to graduation last year.
“They had a tough season,” Duron said. “We are trying to rebuild the team and make it stronger. We want to play with more confidence and be the best we can be.”
John Kopp can be reached at email@example.com.