Steiner tears ACL as tennis loses in semis

Senior Elyse Steiner’s injury will keep her out for the fall season, but help is on the way from transfer Delana Kramer and freshman May Johnson.

The women’s tennis team got off to a rough start this weekend at the Cissie Leary Invitational on the University of Pennsylvania’s campus when it lost a key player, senior Elyse Steiner, for the season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL).

“It was a really big disappointment. She worked really hard all summer,” coach Steve Mauro said.

Despite the loss, the Owls played well over the weekend. Senior Anastasiia Rukavyshnykova led the team in the opening day of play by beating Columbia sophomore Eliza Matache and junior Natalia Christenson in straight sets, 6-1, 6-2 and 6-0, 6-2.

“It was nice to see her play so well after a nice season last year,” Mauro said.

Rukavyshnykova finished last season with an 8-1 record in singles play and entered the year with a combined 35-10 record throughout her collegiate career.

On Saturday, junior Theresa Stangl won her two singles matches to lead the team by downing Columbia’s Christenson 6-1, 6-2 and Penn sophomore Daniela DePaoli 4-1. Freshman Katharina Mittag opened her collegiate career by winning her lone singles match with scores of 6-1, 6-0.

On Sunday, Stangl faced off against Yale junior Stevi Petrilli in the Invitational semifinals, which she lost 6-1, 6-4, ending the Owls’ three-day run at Penn.

With the loss of Steiner, the Owls are looking forward to freshman sensation May Johnson from Australia, who will join the team in January. Johnson is a Top 20 player in Australia in the under-18 category. The team is also getting Delana Kramer, a transfer from Massachusetts, a player Mauro expects to make an immediate impact.

“She is going to be a really big part of our program. We are really looking forward to her getting on campus.” Mauro said.

Come January, the team will really be global with six different players from six different countries: junior Stephany Almansa from Colombia, junior Josephine Bergman from Sweden, Mittag from Germany, junior Lucie Pazderova from the Czech Republic and Rukavyshnykova from Ukraine.

Until then, the team must make do without Steiner. The Owls are in action again this weekend in a match against Big 5 rival Saint Joseph’s. The following weekend, they play in a tournament in Bethlehem, Pa., and then close out the fall schedule with a three-day tournament in New Haven, Conn., Oct. 23-25.

Ryan Rosengrant can be reached at

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