The UCA Bears returned to action on the tennis courts this weekend with home match ups against the Missouri State Bears and the McNeese State Cowgirls.
The first set of matches came on Friday as the two teams with matching mascots squared off. QiLi Ma and Rada Manataweewat got things off to a quick start for UCA, sweeping through the team of Ekaterina Donetskova and Abbey Belote 6-0.
Marli Van Heerdan and Xylia Chunan Xiang quickly followed that up by defeating the duo of Phoebe Boeschen and Faty Khamissi 6-2.
UCA would then take their only loss of the day in the doubles portion as Nataly Yoo and Amiru Shimoguchi fell to Missouri State’s Ema Turudija and Miranda Polle in devastatingly close fashion, 5-7. UCA, however, came out of the doubles segment with a 2-1 victory.
QiLi Ma continued her winning streak to start off singles play, defeating the Russian Ekaterina Donetskova quickly in straight sets, 6-2, 6-2. She would be joined in the winner’s circle soon after by teammate Xylia Chunan Xiang who took down Analise Torrico 6-1, 6-4.
The third singles match up of the day featured Nataly Yoo seeking revenge against Ema Turudija for the doubles loss suffered earlier in the day. In just the second game of the match, Nataly took a nasty fall while running for a shot that would keep her down for several minutes. She would get up and play through her injuries, but ultimately lost the first game 3-6 before valiantly battling back to take the next two sets 6-2, 6-3, taking the victory in the match.
Amiru Shimoguchi swept straight through her opponent 6-0, 6-0 and Marli Van Heerden finished off Phoebe Boeschen 6-3, 6-1 to give UCA five wins in singles competition.
The Sugar Bears’ only singles loss of the day came in the final match as Rada Manataweewat lost a close first set 5-7 before ultimately falling 2-6 in the second set. UCA, however, would take the day overall 7-2 and improve to 3-2 on the season.
The Bears would then play host to the McNeese State Cowgirls on Sunday, opening up Southland Conference play for both teams.
Marli Van Heerdan and Xylia Chunan Xiang got things started quickly by defeating Klaudia Gawlik and Hannah Brett 6-2. This, however, would be the best result UCA would have in doubles play, as Nataly Yoo and Amiru Shimoguchi were defeated 4-6 by Giovanna Fioretti and Sarah Jurakova and QiLi Ma and Rada Manataweewat fell to Julia Kral and Charoline Erlandsson 4-6.
Giovanna Fioretti defeated UCA’s Xylia Chunan Xiang 7-5, 6-2 to begin singles play. The Sugar Bears would then suffer two heart breaking three set losses as QiLi Ma lost to Julia Kral 3-6, 6-3, 4-6 and Nataly Yoo fought through her injury before falling to Klaudia Gawlik 3-6, 6-3, 5-7.
Yoo’s fighting spirit this weekend didn’t go unnoticed, as senior Krizia Buck said, “Nataly really shined this weekend as she fought through two three set matches with injuries. She fell multiple times but continually got back up and fought hard. She won the first and barely lost the second. She’s a model for fighting until the very end through everything no matter the pain level.”
The Cowgirls would also take the next two matches with Hannah Brett beating Marli Van Heerdan 6-1, 6-2 and UCA’s Rada Manataweewat battling Charoline Erlandsson for three sets before losing 6-4, 3-6, 2-6.
The shining star for the Sugar Bears in singles play on Sunday would be Amiru Shimoguchi as she defeated Sarah Jurakova 5-7, 7-6, 10-5, collecting the only win of the day in singles play.
The Bears would take the defeat for the day 6-1, falling to 3-3 on the season and 0-1 in Southland Conference play. This marks the third consecutive time UCA has followed a win with a loss as they continue to struggle to win consecutive games.