The Drexel women’s tennis team came out swinging at the 2011 St. Joseph’s Invitational the weekend of Sept. 30. Even though the poor weather ultimately rained on their parade, the team showed strong returning players as well as talented new faces.
Head Coach Tricia Udicious believes that her players gain momentum and success each time they step on the court. “I was very proud of the way our players stepped up this weekend at St. Joe’s,” Udicious said. “Even in our losses, our quality of play was much higher than [at the Cissie Leary Invitational] last week.”
Leading the pack was sophomore singles player Marcela Rosales. After facing tough competitors, Rosales ended up winning Singles Flight 2. First, she took on the Hawks’ Lauren Roy and pulled through the tough match at 6-3, 7-6 (1). She then cruised past Amanda Nelson in the quarters, Paola Calderon in the semis, and last but not least, Dorothy Safron for the finals.
The most impressive feat for Rosales, besides winning her bracket, was maintaining her cool and her lead throughout each match.
“The amazing thing about Marcela was that she was never down all weekend. She went out to an early lead in every match and never relinquished it,” Udicious stated. “With each match she was more comfortable with her strokes and it allowed her to be more aggressive. She faced tough competition from Temple and Delaware and never wavered.”
Rosales carried her success to her doubles matches as well. She and partner Zeynep Mafa made it all the way to the finals. Mafa also made the quarters in her singles flight. As a pair, Rosales and Mafa weren’t the only Dragons to reach the doubles end. Sonja Stosic and Alex Bell also reached the finals of their doubles flight. Unfortunately, due to a substantial amount of rain, neither pair got to take on their last competitors because the final matches were called off.
“I was actually really disappointed that the doubles finals were not played,” Udicious said. “The teams of Zeynep Mafa and Marcela Rosales and Sonja Stosic with Alex Bell were playing very high level doubles and were looking better with each match. I believe both had a great shot at bringing home the trophy!”
Along with these tough competitors, other Dragons also made their mark during this tournament. Freshman Mel Reyes made the semis of her flight, while Junior Emma Brook made the quarters of hers.
“[Emma] was up against the best competition there, and we saw some of the best tennis Emma has played since coming to Drexel,” Udicious stated. “[Emma] is going to be a force for us, [but] we cannot overlook Mel Reyes, who overcame freshman nerves to make it to the semifinals of her flight.”
Overall, the tournament was a successful venture for the women’s tennis team. Their next event will take place at Drexel’s tennis courts against Monmouth University Oct. 14. The girls are ready to take on the Nighthawks and earn their first team victory of the 2011 tennis season.
Even with a big match coming up against Monmouth, the Dragons are looking ahead toward their biggest tournament of the season, the ITA Regional Championships.
This tournament will take place in New Haven, Conn. Oct. 20-23 on the Yale tennis courts. The best of the best from Maine to Philadelphia will gather to compete for a berth to the National Indoor.
As Udicious puts it, “Our players are hungry to show high-quality tennis with the best in the East.” With their high level of play and determination, there’s no doubt that the Dragons will bring it and ace the competition.