Women’s tennis gaining more experience against top teams


With three new recruits, two freshmen and one transfer student, the eight member squad has been showcasing their new talent.

The women’s tennis team has had a busy yet promising season, participating in three different tournaments.

With three new recruits, two freshmen and one transfer student, the eight member squad has been showcasing their new talent.

“I think that we have a lot of potential this year because we have a lot of depth,” Head Coach Kendall Brooks said. “All of our players, one through eight, can be competitive at any level.”

At the Solinco Houston Open in September, the Hilltoppers had their potential on full display. The women were highly competitive with all Division I schools and won some big matches, several in doubles, which proved that the team’s diligence was paying off.

Most notably, the doubles team of Brooke Hughes and Sasha Khadzhyan teamed up against Stephen F. Austin, defeating them 8-5. Unfortunately, Hughes and Khadzhyan fell short of their goal to repeat as regional champions, but Khadzhyan did make it through to the quarterfinals of singles play.

“This tournament in Houston was a big opportunity for our whole team to play against some really high-level opponents,” Hughes said. “I think as a whole, we were very happy with the way we represented ourselves among such high level schools and were able to pull off some big wins.”

Last week, the Women’s team advanced four players into the Round of 16 of singles play and one doubles team to the quarterfinals at the 2014 ITA South Central Regional Championships at the Midwestern State Tennis Center.

The four, Khadzhyan, Hughes, Ivana Zecevic and Rafaela Haegele, all won two matches on the first day. The second day proved to be more difficult, with all single players eliminated, leaving only Khadzhyan to make it through the quarterfinals.

In doubles action, Khadzhyan and Hughes won their quarterfinal match 8-3, but lost in the semifinals versus Denton and Kruseman from St. Mary’s.

On the third and final day, Haegele and Zecevic fell short during the consolation doubles championship, losing 8-4 against Tarleton State’s Luiza Adas and Erica Richarme following three straight victories in the bracket.

Although this is the end of the fall season, the experience gained will used as preparation for the future.

“The conference tournament is a way into the NCAA tournament and what we really shoot for as a team,” Hughes said.

Now, looking ahead to the spring season, Brooks only has optimism for the team ahead.

“I know my players better and I know more of what they need individually,” Brooks said. “As a group, I am pushing them harder. Our hard work is paying off, and we can only look ahead for the spring season.”