SWAC Women's Tennis Recaps: Quarterfinals
NEW ORLEANS, La. – The 2018 Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) Women’s Tennis Tournament got kickstarted on the grounds of the City Park/Pepsi Tennis Center in New Orleans, La. on Friday with a pair of teams from the state of Mississippi advancing to the semifinals.
No. 4 Jackson State swept No. 6 Grambling State 4-0 behind victories at the both the singles and doubles level from SWAC Women’s Tennis Player of the Year Tyler Smith and No. 2 player Lucia Solis.
Smith stayed red hot by extending her singles winning streak to 14 straight with a quick 6-0, 6-3 decision over SWAC Women’s Tennis Freshman of the Year Yuliia Popova. Despite the loss, Popova finished an accomplished season in which she finished with a winning overall record at 8-7 with three conference singles victories.
Solis improved to 9-5 when playing from the No. 2 singles position with a 6-1, 6-1 victory against Bryttish Burts. Smith and Solis won their fifth consecutive doubles match by topping Longwe and Danna Galeano 6-0.
The Lady Tigers also received a boost from sophomore Nina Zhang, who recorded a 6-0, 6-3 triumph over Idah Longwe at the No. 4 singles spot. Oni Jones and Daria Butorina teamed up at the No. 2 doubles spot to pick up a 6-3 win over Popova and Burts to secure the doubles point.
Jackson State (9-13) advances to play against top-seeded Alabama State (10-8) on Saturday at noon from the Hilton Riverside. The match was moved indoors due to impending inclement weather in the New Orleans area.
In the other semifinal, No. 5 Alcorn State outlasted No. 3 Southern with a 4-2 come-from-behind win after dropping the doubles point.
The Lady Jaguars (7-13) took the early 1-0 advantage when the No. 1 doubles pairing of Stephanie Mbaya and Tanaka Chakanyuka got past Bianca Birkenstock and Anastasia Vaganova 6-2. The Lady Braves evened it when sophomore Alessandra Maganuco and junior Ammaarah Tim bested sophomore Rufaro Chirewa and junior Nicki Neal 6-1.
Southern sealed the doubles point with a 6-1 decision behind Mia Kent and D’Jeri Raymond, who upended the team of Marlene Maier and Klavdija Bukovec.
Alcorn State responded by taking four of five singles victories that finished. Tim beat Mbaya 6-3, 6-1 while Maganuco prevailed over Chakanyuka 6-4, 6-4. Southern’s Chirewa, who did not drop a conference singles match during the regular season, kept her perfect mark in tact by solidifying a 6-2, 6-1 win against Birkenstock.
Vaganova picked up a win at the No. 5 singles position by knocking off Neal 6-1, 6-3 and Maier earned her 11th victory of the season with a 6-1, 6-1 victory against Kent.
Alcorn State (7-14) advances to play No. 2 seed Prairie View A&M on Saturday following the Alabama State and Jackson State match up not before 2:30 p.m. from the Hilton Riverside indoor tennis courts.