Tennis defeats SLU, UNO, improves season to 7-1

The Bears came out strong against the Southeastern Louisiana Lady Lions on March 14, beating them 4-3 in the Bears’ second match in the last month due to weather.

The Hendrix Indoor Tennis Center hosted the game because of inclement weather.

The Bears continued their streak of success in doubles, sweeping the board apart from the unfinished match between UCA’s junior Nataly Yoo and senior Cassidy Crawford and SLU’s freshman Anna Bryhukhova and junior Renee Villareal.

Seniors Kelsey Williams and Allison Murphy pushed their record to 7-0 on the year, taking down freshman Lucia Bustamante and Dany Raygadas 8-0.

UCA junior Bianca Strukelj and senior Kristina Horsikyan improved to 5-1 with an 8-2 victory over freshmen Natalie Duran and sophomore Margaux Kaltenbacher in the final doubles match.

Playing at the indoor Hendrix complex proved to add some extra spice to the competition, turning the energy up a notch.

“We had our first conference match at home, and the weather forced us to play indoors,” UCA coach Casey Wharton said. “I am so appreciative of Hendrix making their facility available to us. It was absolutely electric, both sides were cheering loudly, going back and forth; it was awesome.”

Singles play was extremely competitive, with each team putting up its best work.

Williams came away with a 6-4, 6-2 win over Bryuhkova to take home her win, padding her record to 7-1.

Horsikyan came out strong against Bustmente with a 6-2, 6-3 win to bump her record up to 5-1 for the year.

SLU got its first point of the day in the Yoo/Villareal match, with Villareal forcing Yoo to retire the match. In the second stretch of singles matches, SLU tied the match at 3-3 with Crawford dropping her match to the Lady Lions’ Raygadas and freshman Madina Vorotnikova beating UCA freshman Amanda AlvarezBargueno.

Despite the close call, Murphy represented the Bears’ straight flexing on the SLU Lady Lions, defeating SLU’s Kaltenbacher 6-2, 6-4, moving the Bears to the winner’s circle and moving UCA’s record to 7-0 on the season.

The second match of the weekend was a good one for the Bears, as they beat the University of New Orleans 4-3 on March 15, leading to an overall sweep for the weekend.

The Bears grabbed an early lead by winning doubles.

The Williams/Murphy duo once again proved killer in competition, pushing their win streak to eight wins after beating Privateers freshman Anja Luethi and sophomore Anna Segarra Rius 8-5.

Horsikyan and Strukelj moved to 6-1 on the season with an 8-3 victory over New Orleans’ Hafsa Laraibi and Yasmine Rashad.

Singles play went equally as smooth, with the Bears taking three of six matches.

Yoo took down Calderon in straight sets, 6-1 each time. In match 3, Horsikyan beat Sans 6-3, 7-5.

Murphy closed out the Bears’ win by defeating Segarra Ruis 7-6, 6-3.

Murphy was stoked for the hard-fought wins to be added to the Sugar Bears’ record.

“We had a really great weekend,” Murphy said. “It came down to the final match each time, but we all battled and played so tough and we won some great matches.”

Williams felt confident about the team’s play coming out of this weekend and heading deeper into the season.

“As a team, we are really a threat in the Southland Conference,” Williams said. “Everyone is stepping up and fighting through their matches. It is exciting to see everything come together that we work on in practice.”

The Bears return to the courts this weekend, traveling to Lake Charles, Louisiana, to take on the McNeese State University Cowgirls at 10 a.m. March 21.

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