Two players on the women's tennis team had successful weekends at the Intercollegiate Tennis Association's Regional Championships at the University of Pennsylvania during the weekend of Oct. 24.
Senior Pamela Duran and sophomore Kelly Tidwell beat two opponents each during the tournament. Duran reached the quarterfinals by defeating Iulia Doci from the New Jersey Institute of Technology 6-2, 6-1 and Hilary Bartlett of Princeton University 6-2, 6-4 before losing to finalist Bianca Aboubakara of Brown University.
Tidwell beat Paulina Gamboa of Bucknell University 6-3, 6-0, in the first round and beat Army's Anne Houghton 6-2, 6-2 in her second match before she lost to the No.1 seeded player, Kellie Schmitt of Marshall University, 6-2, 6-2 in the third round.
Tidwell played two singles matches and two doubles matches in the qualifying rounds on Friday, and competed in two more matches on Saturday, Wesselink said.
"That really is a tribute to her hard work on and off the court to get in shape to be able to do it," head coach Wesselink said. "She's worked hard and she deserved every victory she got there."
This was the second time Tidwell had played at the regional championships which helped her know what to expect, she said, but she was also playing good tennis.
Her coach agreed.
"In the regionals, that's the best tennis I've seen her play," Wesselink said. "She's hitting the ball just so cleanly, really putting together nice points. She's showing a maturity in her game and her strategies."
Duran reached the quarterfinals of the tournament for the first time during her career.
The Spiders also had success during the doubles portion of the tournament. Wesselink was not sure what the pairings would be when dual-team play starts in January, but some of the new pairings did well at regionals, he said. The new pairing of Tidwell and senior Ashlee Vosters beat the No. 1 team from the University of Virginia during the qualifying rounds, Wesselink said.
"I'm encouraged that these teams might be the teams that could get us the doubles point which will be crucial in our matches against some of the tougher teams," Wesselink said. "We have a lot of possibilities this year."
The individual season is over and the team will not play in competitive matches until Jan. 17 at Norfolk State. The team should not have trouble staying motivated over winter break, Wesselink said.
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The team gained experience by competing in tournaments in the fall and Duran said the players wanted to carry over their success to the spring season.
The spring season will be very important for the Spiders as the team tries to regain a national ranking, Wesselink said.
Tidwell said: "For us, it's nice to have the high individual rankings, but it's about the team."
Some players will be motivated because they did not play as well as they thought they could, she said. The team will be practicing and working out to keep its fitness level high, she said.
"We can definitely win the A-10 and then we can go to the NCAAs and go further than we have ever been," Duran said. The team has not been to the NCAA tournament since 2007 when it lost during the first round, she said.
Wesselink said: "I think that we can play with the best teams in the region. Our top player goes to the round of 16 and loses a tough match and has a win against the best player in the region. I think it's a great springboard for us to go into the season with a tough schedule and opportunities to get into the national rankings."
Contact reporter Stephen Utz at email@example.com
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