The score didn’t do the Owls any justice. The home crowd wasn’t very supportive either.
The women’s tennis team was ousted from the NCAA tournament after losing to No. 9 Duke, 4-0, in the first round in Durham, N.C. Friday.
Despite the loss, the young Owls (16-5), gained some precious experience against the Blue Devils (19-4).
“We haven’t had that exposure, that experience needed to really compete at that type of level,” assistant coach Darrin Cohen said. “It’s a great stepping stone, building block.”
Boasting two of the country’s top individual players, the Blue Devils took care of business early.
In singles matches, the Owls were swept in straight sets. Sophomores Christine Clermont and Anastasiia Rukavyshnykova were each defeated 6-1, 6-1.
Junior Dina Senkina was down 6-1, 5-1 but did not finish before the overall match ended.
It was déjà vu in doubles action as the Owls duo of Rukavyshnykova and Clermont was beaten, 8-2.
Freshmen doubles pair Lucie Pazderova and Theresa Stangl were grounded 8-0 against the Blue Devils’ tandem of Ellah Nze and Reka Zsilinszka. Nze is the 21st-ranked player nationally, while Zsilinszka is the 24th.
Senkina and sophomore Elyse Steiner were locked in a 4-4 stalemate, but it was too late, as the overall outcome was already decided.
Despite these shortcomings at Durham, it was a season of promise and improvement for the Owls.
The team, which is comprised of mostly freshmen and sophomores, took home the Owls’ first Atlantic Ten Conference Championship since 2002-2003.
All nine players will be returning to defend that title next season.
“We fought hard as a team, but Duke was just too tough an opponent,” said first-year Temple coach Jill Breslin. “It was an outstanding season, and with our entire
team back, we look forward to even more success next year.”
Anthony Stipa can be reached at email@example.com.