TULSA, Okla. - The UConn women's tennis team advanced to the quarterfinals of the American Athletic Conference Championship with a 4-0 win over East Carolina Wednesday morning at the Michael D. Case Tennis Center at the University of Tulsa. The No. 8 seeded Huskies move on to face the No. 1 seeded Houston Cougars Thursday afternoon.
"This was a great win for our team today," commented head coach Glenn Marshall. "Winning a conference tournament match 4-0 was an outstanding achievement. East Carolina is a very good team, and it wasn't as easy as the final score indicates."
The day started with the Huskies rallying in doubles play to win the doubles point. ECU's Maria Gomez and Neena Wanko opened with a 6-0 victory over UConn's Emma Alderman (Hingham, Mass.) and Zaina Zaki (West Chester, Pa.) forcing the Huskies to sweep the remaining two matches. The duo of senior Maxene Weinberg (Marietta, Ga.) and junior Srna Stosljevic (Novi Sad, Serbia) posted a 6-2 win at No. 1 to leave it up to the No. 3 doubles match to decide the point.
The freshmen tandem of Yelyzaveta Pletnyeva (Vinnista, Ukraine) and Summer Walker (Conyers, Ga.) battled their way back from down 4-3 in their match with Dana Gray and Katie Hoch and delivered with a 6-4 win to grab the opening point heading into singles play.
UConn left no doubt on the singles courts, running off three two-set victories in the top-three spots to put the match away 4-0. Pletnyeva led the singles attack by posting an impressive 6-0, 6-0 win at No. 3 over Gomez. The rookie standout improved to 14-6 this spring and has rolled to a 9-1 mark over her last 10 matches.
Stosljevic finished up next, stopping Nicole LaDuca 6-4 and 6-0 in the No. 1 spot, notching her 24th victory of the season. Alderman closed it out and put the Huskies into the quarterfinals by posting a 6-3, 6-3 victory at No. 2 over Michelle Castro. The trio will all head into tomorrow quarterfinal having won three-straight in singles play.
"Because of rain, we had to play indoors on only three courts," stated the head coach. "Srna, Emma, and Yelyzaveta all took the courts first and came out on fire. Yelyzaveta played her most consistent and focused tennis, running away with a resounding 6-0, 6-0 win. Emma was challenged in both sets but once again, her mental toughness in the close games was the difference today. Srna played a very close first set, but her ground strokes were too overpowering in the second set. Our 4-6 singles players didn't get to play much because the match was clinched when they were set to take the court."
"I am so proud of the team and their effort today. We have been playing with a lot of confidence, and it has led to all of our success these past three weeks."
The Huskies and #29 nationally ranked Cougars will take the court on Thursday at 12:00 noon central time. UConn and Houston met earlier this spring as the Huskies fell 6-1 at home. The Huskies lone point came from Walker who picked-up a singles win at No. 5 over Angela Lorenzo, 6-1 and 6-4.