Jan. 28, 2012
Tempe, Ariz. -
The No. 20 Arizona State women's tennis team defeated Texas Tech to advance to the regional finals of the ITA Kick-off Weekend 4-1 this past Saturday.
The Sun Devils started off the day strong in doubles play with a standout performance from Jacqueline Cako and Nicole Smith, who defeated Samantha Adams and Kenna Kilgo, 8-5. Finishing third and with the doubles point on the line, Michelle Brycki and Joanna Smith were able to clinch the point for Arizona State defeating Caroline Starck and Nikki Sanders 8-4.
"I thought we played great at one and two doubles," Sun Devils head coach Sheila McInerney said. "Jacqueline (Cako) and Nikki (Smith) played really well, and so did Michelle (Brycki) and Joanna (Smith). Having that point coming out of doubles really helps," said McInerney.
In singles play, ASU was able to clinch 3 sets, and let two go into default. With her top team seeding, Jacqueline Cako defeated a a visibly frustrated Liz Ulathorne on the main stage, 6-2, 6-1. Michelle Brycki also tacked on a point defeating Samantha Adams 6-3, 6-2.
While unbeknown to her, Nicole Smith delivered the clinching point for ASU by defeting Sandra Dynka 6-4, 6-3 in a difficult set that saw lead changes bounce back and forth. "Well I didn't actually know at the time, which was probably a good thing," said junior Nicole Smith with a laugh.
Coach McInerney was exceptionally pleased with the match winning performance of Nicole Smith, in the sense that it was a personal victory for an athlete who has overcome serious injuries in recent time.
"She had a tough first set but she pulled it out 6-4, and then was up 3-1 and had chances to go up four and didn't quite do it. But I thought she battled great, she's in a lot of pain with that knee and she's tired, but for her to come back and win that for us is really good. I think it helped her confidence, she has had a tough go coming back from the two ACL tears, but I thought she battled like a trooper today, and I'm really, really proud of her," said McInerney.
Smith also knows the bigger impact that a "W" written on the greaseboard means for her overall progress.
"It's really encouraging to finally get through a match, last weekend they pulled me once we won the match and I lost last weekend as well, so it's kind of the first match I've won for the team and it feels really good," said Smith.
The Sun Devils will face Pac-12 rival USC, after the trojans defeated Sacramento State 7-0 earlier in the day. ASU and USC will square off at 1:30 p.m. MT on Sunday at the Whiteman Tennis Complex in Tempe, Ariz. The winner of the finals matchup will advance to the ITA Indoor Championships.
Be sure to check with www.thesundevils.com for results and updates from this weekend's tournament. You can also follow the action by liking The Arizona State Women's Tennis page on Facebook.
ARIZONA STATE REGIONAL
ASU 4, Texas Tech 1
1. Jacqueline Cako/Nicole Smith (ASU) def. Samantha Adams/Kenna Kilgo (TT) 8-5
2. Michelle Brycki/Joanna Smith (ASU) def. Caroline Starck/Nikki Sanders (TT) 8-4
3. Elizabeth Ulathorne/Rashmi Teltumbde (TT) def. Hannah James/Sianna Simmons (ASU) 8-3
Order of Finish: 3, 2, 1
1. Jacqueline Cako (ASU) def. Liz Ulathorne (TT) 6-2, 6-1.
2. Michelle Brycki (ASU) def. Samantha Adams (TT) 6-3, 6-2
3. Hannah James (ASU) vs. Caroline Starck (TT) DNF
4. Sianna Simmons (ASU) vs. Kenna Kilgo (TT) DNF
5. Nicole Smith (ASU) def. Sandra Dynka (TT) 6-4, 6-3
6. Nikki Sanders (TT) def. Joanna Smith (ASU) 6-3, 6-1
Order of Finish 6, 2, 1, 5, 4, 3