Blugold Women’s tennis competed at ITA Regional & Gustavus Invite

    Zevenberg, Wijesinghe find success

    More stories from Alanna Huggett

    Pura Vida
    May 15, 2019

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    Blugold women’s tennis competed this past weekend at the ITA Regional & Gustavus Invite. Natalie Wijesinghe, pictured, takes a swing.

    Blugold women’s tennis was back in action this past weekend at the Gustavus Fall Invitational  and the United States Tennis Association/Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Midwest Regional Championships in St. Peter, Minn.

    Gustavus Fall Invite

    At the Gustavus Fall Invite, Hanna Zevenberg, a third-year, won all four of her matches in singles draw 3, finishing 6-4, 6-2 in the championship round against Trebil of Gustavus.

    Emma Barnd, a first-year, advanced to round 8, defeating Rachel West of Bethel University 6-1, 6-2 before falling in the semi-final to Caitlin Steffen of Gustavus.

    Riley Persike, Natalie Girard, Alexa Brooks and Rachel Slonac also competed in the singles draw of the Gustavus invite. Persike and Girard both reached round 16 and then played in the consolation round. Brooks and Slonac both made it to round 8 in the single draws.

    In the doubles matches, Lindsey Henderson, a first-year, and Alexa Brooks, a second-year, teamed up to compete in the doubles draw one. They moved to the semi-final round of the draw, beating Sydney Douglas and Megan Karrow of Gustavus 8-4.

    They lost in the final round 8-6 to Cassandra Bahr and Julie Boeve from St. Mary’s University.

    Kennedy Rusk, a second-year, and Abby Girard a first-year, teamed up in the doubles draw 2. Natalie Girard, a first-year, and Emma Barnd also competed together, with both teams winning the round of 16, 8-2 and 8-5 respectively before both duos finished the invitational in round 8 with a loss.

    Riley Persike and Allison Bauer also competed in the doubles tournament and won round 8 against Hopkins and Schwartz of Hamline University 8-4. The duo advanced to the semi-final round of doubles draw 4 with a loss to Carlson and Thorsen of Gustavus 8-4.

    Henderson said she thought the tournament went well for the team, and commented on the success of the singles and doubles for the lower and higher divisions.

    “I think we all did really good all the doubles teams won all their first matches which is super good,” Henderson said. “Me and my doubles partner got second in the Midwest section, which is cool and then another girl (Zevenberg) won her section for the singles.”

    The Blugold women’s tennis team has a lot of young players and going to tournaments like these are where the players can gain more experience, Gillman said.

    “We have a lot of young girls and I think they learned a lot and everybody had some success which is great,” Gillman said. “Our older girls had a lot of success on the court so that’s nice as well.”

    ITA Midwest Regional Championships

    Natalie Wijesinghe, a third-year; Molly Stewart, a fourth-year; and Emily Cooper, a second-year, all competed in the singles tournament at the ITA Regional.

    Wijesinghe won four matches at the ITA regional, winning the round of 16 with 6-3, 6-2 against Sabrina Palavra of UW-Whitewater. Wijesinghe advanced to the quarterfinals before losing to Ginger Valentine of Gustavus 6-2, 7-5. Valentine went on to be the singles champion.

    Wijesinghe reached the semis in singles last year at this tournament and made it to the quarters in singles this year. She has also advanced to the semis two years in a row, Gillman said.

    Meanwhile, Stewart advanced to the round of 32 before losing to Grace Riermann of Bethel University. Emily Cooper reached the round of 64 before losing to Gabi Kitchell of UW-Whitewater.

    Wijesinghe and Cooper took on the doubles tournament and winning the round of 8, 8-5 against Paige McLeod and Taylor McLeod of St. Thomas. The duo made it to the semi-final round where they fell to Kristina Conrad and Madeline Prins of Carleton College 8-1.

    Stewart and Zevenbergen advanced to the round of 8 as well before falling to Grace Riermann and Maggie Riermann of Bethel University 8-4 in that round.

    “We’ve never had two teams advance to the quarters in the same year — that’s the final eight teams — so that’s great,” Gillman said.

    The Blugolds will have their next match Sept. 26 at UW-Stout.

    Huggett can be reached at [email protected].