IUP women's tennis advances to round of 16 in NCAA Tournament
Published: Tuesday, May 1, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, May 1, 2012 14:05
IUP women’s tennis advanced to the NCAA tournament championship in Kentucky after back-to-back wins at home Saturday and Sunday.
The Crimson Hawks hosted West Liberty and Charleston this weekend at the Maple Street Courts for the first two Atlantic Regional rounds of the 2012 NCAA Division II Women’s Tennis Championships.
The competition began with IUP taking on West Liberty of the West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. Despite the less-than-favorable weather, IUP came ready to battle.
The Hawks took a commanding lead when they swept the doubles matchups. Erika Schnaas and Ranvita Mahto had an 8-2 win at the three spot against West Liberty’s Sarah Howells and Christina Pauley.
Tanya Timko and Emilia Osborne downed their competition 8-0 at the two spot. The first doubles team of Tabtip Louhabanjong and Katie Eaton completed the three-match sweep with an 8-3 win over Liberty’s Lauren Howard and Raissa Wischi.
As the Hawks prepared for singles play, the No. 1 singles player, Tabtip Louhabanjong, needed to sit out due to a back injury. The Hawks did not let that stop them from dominating in the singles spots.
Each singles player moved up one spot and finished the job at five and six to take IUP to the next round of the tournament.
Schnaas and Mahto completed the two necessary wins for IUP and clinched the Hawks’ appearance in Sunday’s matchup. Schnaas defeated Pauley 6-0, 6-0 at five while Mahto finished her two-set win 6-0, 6-0.
Head Coach Larry Peterson was pleased with the Hawk’s performance against West Liberty.
“I feel good about it,” he said. “We took care of business.”
Charleston (W.Va.) and Slippery Rock faced off Saturday after IUP’s win. Charleston beat Slippery Rock 5-3, ensuring their place as IUP’s opponent for Sunday.
The following day’s match brought warmer weather and more victory for the Crimson Hawks.
With their No. 1 singles player back in action, the Hawks cruised past the Charleston competition. Louhabanjong clinched IUP’s victory at number one singles 6-0, 6-0.
The Hawks started the day struggling but never lost focus, as two doubles pairs had come-from-behind wins as part of IUP’s sweep of doubles play.
Osborne and Timko had an 8-1 win over Charleston’s Sarah Monsheimer and Marieve Edwards at two.
Mahto, paired with Schnaas at three, battled Charleston’s Millika Mali and Kelsey Hensley. The Hawks were down 5-2 but came back strong and pulled off an 8-6 victory. Louhabanjong and Eaton finished the Hawks sweep with an 8-6 win at number one after fighting back from a 3-1 deficit.
“I’m so proud of how they were able to stay composed and focused,” Peterson said. “Sweeping doubles was huge.”
Schnaas started things off in singles play with a 6-0, 6-1 win at number six. Louhabanjong easily defeated Charleston’s Marcela Torres for the IUP’s fifth win of the day.
Peterson was confident in the Hawks ability to bring down their competition both days.
“We had played both teams before, so we knew what to expect,” he said.
The Hawks 5-0 blank over Charleston brought their record to 22-7 for the year, a new school record. The Hawks set the previous record of 21 program victories last year.
“I am very proud of the whole team and their work and effort throughout the year,” Peterson said. “We are very excited to be moving on.”
IUP will continue on to Louisville, Ky., for the Division II spring festival May 16-19. This will be the Hawks’ second consecutive year making it to the NCAA Division II Women’s Tennis Championship round.