Owls breeze past St. Francis

Ahead of a conference match Wednesday, Temple dispatched St. Francis (N.Y.) in a 6-1 defeat Sunday.

After falling in its conference opener last Saturday, the women’s tennis team rebounded with a 6-1 defeat of St. Francis (N.Y.) Sunday.

Temple won five out of six singles matches in straight sets. After feeling ill against Cincinnati, Alina Abdurakhimova returned to her winning ways at No. 1 singles by defeating her ninth consecutive opponent in straight sets.

The Owls also recorded singles points from freshmen Monet-Stuckey Willis (6–4, 6–4) and Yana Khon (6–3, 6–2). Sophomore Dina Karina contributed by earning her singles point through a 6–3, 6–1 victory, while junior Minami Okajima cruised in her match with a score of 6-1, 6-1.

“We bumped Monet up to the third flight and she won in straight sets,” coach Steve Mauro said. “Our top three players are freshmen and that says a lot about our team for the future.”

The Owls earned the doubles point with quick work at the second and third flights. Mauro switched his third-flight doubles pairing, which resulted in a victory.

“I was happy that the girls played well after having some time off,” Mauro said. “We tried out a new doubles combination in [senior] Rebecca Breland and [sophomore] Dina Karina, and they played well and got a win.”

Mauro said playing matches during the last two days of practice helped prepare them for the match. His team will get back to competition when it travels to East Carolina for a conference match on Wednesday.

“Our win [Sunday] was a good one,” Mauro said. “This match will help us prepare for another conference match against East Carolina on Wednesday … we didn’t show any rust in the match because we played singles and doubles matches at practice and that helped us stay sharp.”

Temple opened its conference schedule with a blowout loss at Cincinnati, and said he’ll be looking for a different approach from his team in its second conference match of the season.

“I think that we need to get the girls fired up for this conference match,” Mauro said. “Traveling to North Carolina will be long, but we will stress the importance of these conference matches to the team to make sure they are ready.”

Dalton Balthaser can be reached at dalton.balthaser@temple.edu or on Twitter @DaltonBalthaser.

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