By Connor Johnson, SDA Media Relations
Sophomore Stephanie Vlad highlighted a successful Sunday afternoon for the Arizona State women’s tennis team, finishing third at the 2013 ASU Thunderbird Invitational at the Whiteman Tennis Center in Tempe, Ariz.
Three other Sun Devils were victorious on Sunday, as junior Leighann Sahagun, and freshmen Gussie O’Sullivan and Kassidy Jump each won their respective matches.
Vlad squared off against Cal’s Klara Fabikova in the third place game following her 6-3, 6-3 loss yesterday to Cal’s Denise Starr, who would go on to win the tournament’s main draw.
The match was never in question as Vlad cruised to a 6-1, 6-3 victory. Vlad finished the weekend 4-1.
Sahagun defeated Michigan junior Kristen Dodge in straight sets Sunday morning, 6-3, 6-2. The win capped off a 3-1 weekend for the Arizona State junior.
O’Sullivan was able to hold off Michigan freshman Laura Ucros in tiebreaking fashion, winning 6-4, 5-7, [10-7]. The win was O’Sullivan’s second of the weekend.
Jump came away with a hard fought, three set victory against Kansas State freshman Livia Cirnu, winning 6-1, 1-6, 6-2.
Other Sun Devil action on Sunday saw sophomore Desirae Krawczyk fall to Michigan sophomore Amy Zhu 1-6, 6-1, 6-4 and junior Joanna Smith lose to Kansas State freshman Iva Bago 6-3, 6-4.
Arizona State head coach Sheila McInerney was pleased with the effort this weekend, but also acknowledged that there is still a lot of room for improvement.
“We accomplished what we really wanted to accomplish this weekend, as the girls got four singles matches in,” McInerney said. “It was great getting some matches under their belt and seeing what they need to work on.”
McInerney also spoke about how evenly matched this year’s tournament was, as three of the tournament’s top four seeds failed to reach the semifinals.
“I think this tournament was really competitive from one to 32, and anyone could have won the tournament this weekend,” McInerney said. “You just knew that every match out there was going to be really competitive.”
Arizona State doesn’t play again until January and McInerney already knows what the Sun Devils will be working on in their time off.
“I think the biggest thing we as a team need to work on is to try and play more competitive sets, and be more competitive going against each other in practice,” McInerney said. “But that comes with getting some experience and playing competitive matches and I think we did that this weekend.”
“We saw this weekend that Cal’s team will make you play really deep into rallies and you have to be prepared to do that against good players,” McInerney said. “We just need to work on grinding it out a bit more than we did, and focus on being tougher with one another in practice.”
The Thunderbird Classic was ASU’s last fall competition. The Sun Devils will return to action on Jan. 18, when they take on Northern Arizona in Tempe.
Niedermayerova/Juhasz (KSU) def. Smith/O’Sullivan (ASU) 8-2
Krawczyk/Panoho (ASU) def. Ucros/Zhu (Mich) 8-6
Sahagun/Jump (ASU) def. Fabikova/Duranteau (Cal) 8-7 (4)
Starr/Chui (Cal) def. St. Hill/Cirnu (KSU) 8-2
Schutting/Manasse (Cal) def. Agrawal/Murtagh (FS) 8-1
Wierda/Dodge (Mich) def. Panatte/Bago (KSU) 8-5
Main Draw Final
Starr (Cal) def. Manasse (Cal) 6-1, 6-2
Third and Fourth Final
Vlad (ASU) def. Fabikova (Cal) 6-1, 6-3
Sahagun (ASU) def. Dodge (Mich) 6-3, 6-2
O’Sullivan (ASU) def. Ocros (Mich) 6-4, 5-7, [10-7]
Zhu (Mich) def. Krawczyk (ASU) 1-6, 6-1, 6-4
Juhasz (KSU) def. Ramynse (Mich) 6-4, 6-4
St. Hill (KSU) def. Wierda (Mich) 6-2, 3-6, 6-1
Nierdermayerova (KSU) def. Schutting (Cal) 2-6, 6-2, 6-4
Panaite (KSU) def. Murtagh (FS) 6-0, 6-1
Jump (ASU) def. Cirnu (KSU) 6-1, 1-6, 6-2
Bago (KSU) def. J. Smith (ASU) 6-3, 6-4