MSU Concludes Play at ITA Midwest Regionals
Nine Spartans competed in this weekend’s tournament.
ANN ARBOR, Mich. – The Michigan State women’s tennis team wrapped up competition today at the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Midwest Regional Championships.
The tournament featured six ranked singles players and four ranked doubles teams, as well as Big Ten competition in Michigan, Northwestern and Ohio State.
Nine Spartans represented MSU at the tournament, composed of two players in the qualifying singles round, seven in main draw singles and four doubles teams.
Last year at the 2016 ITA Regionals, six players competed in the tournament for Michigan State, including five players qualifying for the main draw and two doubles teams.
Three freshmen joined returning players after starting their Spartan careers with successful fall campaigns at the Wildcat Invite earlier this month, with freshmen Ava Thielman and Sara Kuuttila qualifying for the main draw. Last season, sophomore Samantha Memije was the only freshman to represent the Spartans at the tournament.
Senior Lexi Baylis and freshman Caroline Szabo competed in the qualifying round. The Green and White was represented in the main draw by seniors Habiba Shaker and Aslina Chua, sophomore Memije, freshmen Thielman and Kuuttila, as well as juniors Emily Metcalf and Davina Nguyen.
In qualifying singles, Baylis and Szabo won their first round matches, but fell in the second round to Youngstown State’s Noelly Nsmiba and Sofia Macias, respectively. In the first round, Baylis defeated Western Michigan’s Valerie Riegraf 7-6(4), 6-1 while Szabo downed Michigan’s Kara Hall 7-5, 4-6, 6-4.
During the first round of main draw singles, Memije, Metcalf, Nguyen and Thielman fell against tough opponents and did not advance.
Kuuttila, Chua and Shaker all received first round byes in main draw singles, but fell in the second round.
“I liked that in a lot of our matches we were already in the second round before we even had to play a match,” head coach Kim Bruno said. “That shows that we did a lot of work last season and proved ourselves as a good team.”
Four pairs represented the Spartans in main draw doubles. No. 14 ranked Metcalf and Nguyen, as well as the duo of Shaker and Kuuttila received first round byes.
Metcalf and Nguyen received the No. 2 seed in the main draw doubles bracket. The duo won two matches to advance to the quarterfinals where they eventually fell to Ohio State’s Sanford and Sneed, 8-3.
“I think we’re on the right path, there’s no question about that,” Bruno said. “We just have to be able to be a little more disciplined, more meticulous and how we’re doing that in our practices everyday.”
The Spartans return to the court at the Louisville Invite from Friday, Nov. 3 to Sunday, Nov. 5 to wrap up their fall season.
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