After not knowing whether its match would be played due to inclement weather, the women’s tennis team lost its first match in three weeks to conference opponent Cincinnati, 6-1.
The Owls were without Alina Abdurakhimova, the reigning American Athletic Conference player of the week, who was suffering from a stomach virus.
“[Abdurakhimova] couldn’t play singles, but she tried to give it a go in doubles, but that didn’t work out,” coach Steve Mauro said. “Not having her in the lineup hurt us against a tough conference opponent.”
Cincinnati dominated in singles by winning five out of six matches in straight sets. The Bearcats also earned the doubles point by sweeping the three doubles matches.
The only point earned by the Owls came from freshman Monet Stuckey-Willis, who won in scores of 7-6 (5), 3-6, 10-3. Willis has been playing solid tennis of late, and Mauro said he is considering moving her up in the lineup.
“[Monet] is really playing well in singles and she is turning into a strong doubles player as well,” Mauro said. “Because of her recent performance we are looking to move her up in the lineup … she is one of the hardest hitters on our team and she is coming to the net a little more and is utilizing her drop shots well.”
Mauro wasn’t pleased with his team’s doubles performance and said that next week at practice, the team will focus more on that aspect of the game.
“We need to work on our doubles a little more next week,” Mauro said. “It is important to get the doubles point because it dictates the pace of the match. We were a little lackadaisical in doubles … we need to be more fired up in doubles.”
The men’s team also played Saturday and defeated Wright State, 4–3. The Owls were challenged on the road and came out of the match with a victory.
Juniors Santiago Canete (6-2, 7-5), Nicolas Paulus (6-0, 6-1) and transfer Ian Glessing 6-2, 7-6(5) all on their singles matches in straight sets.
Mauro was pleased with how his junior transfer played in one of his first singles matches with the team.
“Ian played solid from the baseline and won a lot of points at the net,” Mauro said. “His serve was solid as well as his volleys. Since he is a lefty he can serve out wide to right-handed players and then he finishes the point by coming to the net … he got his first singles win with us.”
The Owls played well in doubles Saturday, and Mauro said that his team started out well in the doubles matches to be able to secure the doubles point.
Both teams will have some time off before playing their next match. The men’s team opens conference play Feb. 27 at Memphis, and the women’s team will play St. Francis (N.Y.) on March 1.
Dalton Balthaser can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @DaltonBalthaser.