10 Feb 2021 UCA tennis sweeps doubleheader
Jonesboro, Ark.— The University of Central Arkansas tennis program excelled on Saturday, Feb. 6, as they picked up two significant victories in the doubleheader.
The Bears continue their recent hot streak as they grabbed victories against Southeast Missouri State and in-state rival Arkansas State at the College Tennis Showcase.
UCA 4 SEMO 3
UCA dropped the first two matches in singles play but made up for it in the long run when the No. 1 spot finished up. Sophomore Chunxi Xin claimed the first singles point of the day to tie the matchup up at 2-2. She defeated the Redhawks No. 1 in two tough sets as both sets went into tiebreakers with the final score being 7-6 (6), 7-6 (3). After dropping the next match, the Bears were in a win or go home state as they were down 3-2.
For UCA to have the chance at victory, they need wins from both their No. 5 and 6 players. Out of those two, the first to finish was No. 5 freshman Sumomo Hamanaga. Hamanaga dropped the first set in the match 6-3, and the odds were slowly stacking against the Bears. Hamanaga did not let anything deter her, though, as she fought back and dominantly claimed the final two sets, 6-1 and 6-2. UCA got one last chance with the score tied up as they finished out with freshman Jaeun Lee. Lee has been a force all spring and continued as she grabbed the clinching match 6-4, 5-7, 6-3.
The Bears claimed the doubles point that made the deciding factor in the match as they swept their three doubles matches. Xin and sophomore Fuka Nonoyama continued their success and had the largest margin of victory, a score of 6-4. The other two matches were nailbiters as each team was forced into a tiebreaker.
Freshman Maja Gledic and Lee claimed the second match of the day as Lee once again played the part of clinching the match by helping get the doubles point. The young tangent grabbed the victory with a 7-6 (3) tiebreaker. Following that, junior Yada Vasupongchai and sophomore Mei Ishimura finished out the doubles side of things with a 7-6 (4) win.
UCA 4 ASU 1
Due to having a later start, the teams decided to finish the match on the clinching point. The Bears were able to do that with ease as they gained the doubles point and then scored three out of four to finish out singles play. After falling short in the previous match, Nonoyama would not let up in this second outing. She dismantled her opponent and scored the first singles point for UCA with a 6-1, 6-0 victory. Not to be outdone, Vasupongchai made quick work of ASU’s Shelby King as she took the match 6-1, 6-1.
Like the first match of the doubleheader, the end rested on the shoulders of Lee. This match had far less pressure as she clamped down on the Red Wolves chances even before they got anything going. Lee claimed her match in three sets after dropping the beginning set 6-2. Lee pushed her past her opponent quickly in the next couple of sets, winning it 2-6, 6-3, 6-3.
The Bears once again secured the doubles point, which helped them breeze past ASU in this contest. The teams of Ishimura and Vasupongchai once again stood firm as they bested their opponents 6-3. As well, the pairing of Hamanaga and Lee continue to make their names known as they defeated the Red Wolves pairing 6-4.
Up next, the Bears hope to continue their winning streak as they head to Murray, Ky. for another weekend doubleheader. UCA starts this doubleheader against the home team, Murray State, before finishing off with Lipscomb University. First serve for these matchups begin at 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. on Saturday at the Bennie Purcell Tennis Courts.
Coach Casey Wharton was proud of her team.
“It was a good day; we got two close wins that went our way,” Wharton said. “We competed hard, and the cheering was positive and strong from both sides, and I think that was a key factor for us. We were better in doubles today then we had been and that was nice to see.”