MURFREESBORO, Tenn.- After nearly a month off from team competition, the Lipscomb women’s tennis squad made the short trip to Middle Tennessee to compete in the ITA Ohio Valley Regional. The break paid off as the Lady Bisons won all three of their ITA opening day main draw events for the first time in program history.
Freshman Kateryna Popova made a big splash by opening the tournament with main draw singles victories over East Tennessee State’s Alory Pereira (7-6, 2-6, 6-1) and Eastern Kentucky’s Alexandra Belle (7-5, 2-6, 6-3). Her performance marked the first time that a Lipscomb player has advanced to the third round of the ITA Regional main draw singles.
“This is our best performance we’ve had at (ITA Regionals),” coach Jamie Aid said. “We’ve never won all the (opening) main draw matches before, so that was awesome to see a freshman be able to produce.”
Madeleine Brooks also picked up an opening-round win in main draw singles. The sophomore downed Memphis’ Claire Sullivan before losing to Vanderbilt’s Emily Smith in the second round.
“Maddy had a phenomenal tournament,” Aid said of Brooks, who finished the weekend with a 3-1 record. “She played some great players from Memphis and Miami Ohio. She’s really found her game and she competed well this weekend.”
Brooks filled in for the injured Viktoriya Dzyuba – who is expected to return to the court soon.
Popova and Brooks also teamed up in doubles and defeated Vanderbilt (8-3) in the consolation round on Saturday morning.
Denise Buberl and Thabile Tshatedi topped Xavier (8-5) in the opening round of the main draw doubles. It marked just the second time the two had ever played a doubles match together.
“We’ve really gone with the idea that anybody on our team can play together at any time,” Aid said. “Our girls have a high level off communication and know each other’s game.”
Buberl went on to go 3-1 in singles play during the weekend, while Tshatedi went 2-3.
Redshirt sophomore Kateryna Kanyba continued her comeback from ACL surgery with singles victories over Belmont’s Sarah Beth Crowe and Xavier’s Zoe Manion.
While Buberl and Dzyuba recently traveled to Calfornia for ITA All-Americans, the rest of the team continued to practice and improve, Aid said.
“Practices have been intense lately and the girls have bought in,” Aid said. “We forced a lot of three sets and played a lot of tiebreakers. Our girls brought a great level of competition every day.”
The Lady Bisons will look to keep the momentum going when they travel to Alabama for the Roberta Alison Fall Classic on Oct. 27.
ITA Ohio Valley Regional results
Main Draw Singles
Kateryna Popova (3-2)
def. Pereira (ETSU) 7-6, 2-6, 6-1 (Thursday, Oct. 12)
def. Belle (EKU) 7-5, 2-6, 6-3 (Friday, Oct. 13)
lost to L. Garica (APSU) 7-6 (3), 6-4 (Friday, Oct. 13)
def. Albertson (APSU) 6-0, 6-3 (Saturday, Oct. 14)
lost to Ponomareva (Miami OH) 6-2, 5-7, 11-9 (Sunday, Oct. 15)
Madeleine Brooks (3-1)
def. Sullivan (MEM) 6-2, 0-6, 6-4 (Thursday, Oct. 12)
lost to Emily Smith (Vandy) 6-1, 6-2 (Friday, Oct. 13)
def. K. Cao (MEM) 6-1, 6-3 (Saturday, Oct. 14)
def. M. Lysova (Miami OH) 6-2, 6-3 (Sunday, Oct. 15)
B Flight Singles
Thabile Tshatedi (2-3)
def. Power (NKU-injured) (Thursday, Oct. 12)
def. Sbircea (Ball State-withdraw) (Friday, Oct. 13)
lost to Schmidt-Jorgens (LOU) 6-2, 7-5 (Friday, Oct. 13)
lost to Manion (Xavier) 3-6, 6-1, 10-7 (Saturday, Oct. 14)
lost to Vashihkina (Miami OH) 7-6 (2), 0-6, 10-7 (Sunday, Oct. 15)
Kateryna Kandyba (2-2)
lost to Natraj (TSU) 6-4, 6-4 (Thursday, Oct. 12)
lost to Watton (NKU) 6-4, 6-0 (Friday, Oct. 13)
def. Crowe (Belmont) 6-2, 4-6, 10-7 (Saturday, Oct. 14)
def. Manion (Xavier) 6-4, 7-6 (Sunday, Oct. 15)
Denise Buberl (3-1)
def. Culberson (NKU) 7-5, 6-4 (Friday, Oct. 13)
lost to Larrianga (Evansville) 6-2, 6-1 (Friday, Oct. 13)
def. Ruether (Xavier) 6-1, 6-3 (Saturday, Oct. 14)
def. Fitz-Randolph (Xavier) 6-1, 6-3 (Sunday, Oct. 15)
Main Draw Doubles
Denise Buberl/Thabile Tshatedi (LIP) def. Xavier 8-5 (Thursday, Oct. 12)
#4 Vanderbilt def. Denise Buberl/Tshatedi (LIP) 8-2 (Thursday, Oct. 12)
B Flight Doubles
Evansville def. Kateryna Popova/Madeleine Brooks (LIP) 8-3 (Thursday, Oct. 12)
Brooks/Popova def. Vanderbilt 8-3 (Saturday, Oct. 14)