Temple women’s tennis loses in first round of AAC tournament

The 12th-seeded Owls lost, 4-0, to No. 5 Southern Methodist on the Mustangs’ home court on Wednesday in Dallas.

Senior Rimpledeep Kaur (center) and junior Alice Patch (right) shake hands with Fairleigh Dickinson University junior Liza Rachenko and sophomore Patricia Eftenoiu after their doubles win on Sunday at the Penn Tennis Center. | ALEX ST. CLAIR / THE TEMPLE NEWS

The Owls’ (10-8, 2-1 American Athletic Conference) season came to a close on Wednesday afternoon after their 4-0 loss to Southern Methodist (15-8, 3-4 The American) in the opening round of the 12-team American Athletic Conference tournament in Dallas.

Southern Methodist, the No. 5 seed in the tournament, beat No. 12 Temple on its home court at Turpin Stadium. The Mustangs’ fans supported their team well during the match, coach Steve Mauro said.

After closing out the regular season with four consecutive shutout wins, Temple lost its winning streak and suffered its fourth shutout loss of the season. The Owls were shut out for the first time since Feb. 17 against East Carolina.

The Mustangs earned the doubles point by winning two out of the three matches. The Mustangs’ duo of junior Karina Traxler and sophomore Sarai Monarrez Yesaki defeated seniors Alina Abdurakhimova and Monet Stuckey-Willis, 6-3. Southern Methodist freshman Nicole Petchey and junior Ana Perez-Lopez beat senior Yana Khon and sophomore Kristina Titova, 6-2, in the third flight.

“It’s always tough losing the doubles point,” Mauro said. “We fought hard. It just didn’t go our way.”

In singles, Southern Methodist earned three singles points before the Owls earned one. The remaining matches went unfinished because the Owls could no longer come back.

Mustangs junior Liza Buss defeated Stuckey-Willis, 6-2, 6-2, in the second flight. Perez-Lopez earned another point for the Mustangs when she defeated Khon 6-4, 6-4, in the No. 4 spot.

To close out the day, Monarrez Yesaki and Titova played three sets with the Mustangs prevailing, 4-6, 6-1, 6-2, to earn the final point.

Titova played through a nagging shoulder injury. During the second set, she called the team trainer over but continued playing, Mauro said.

Freshman Oyku Boz was withheld from the tournament with a knee injury after undergoing an MRI last week.

Temple’s season is over, while Southern Methodist advanced to face No. 4 South Florida on Thursday.

“Every girl fought, and at the end of the day that was the most important thing for me to see that they never gave up,” Mauro said. “I’m proud of the way the girls played today.”

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