Zips Tennis hosts the Akron Invitational

By Terry Rabbitts, Sports-editor@buchtelite.com

The University of Akron’s women’s tennis team opened play on the first day of action at its own Akron Invitational on Friday.

In its opening doubles match against West Virginia, senior Martina Zerbola and freshman Luisa Echeverry defeated Carolina Lewis and Lyn Yuen Choo, 6-2, at the No. 3 spot.

In singles action, The University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC) won four of six matches against Akron. The Zips’ first win came at No. 5 as sophomore Carli Knezevich defeated Allie Schulte, 6-2, 6-1. Zerbola then took down Linda Mouhoub, 6-2, 6-0 at No. 6 singles.

“We continue to see development as the fall season progresses. Today, from a results standpoint, we took a small step backwards, but the level of competition that we are facing this weekend is the strongest we will see all fall. Win or lose, these are the type of matches that we need to play, in order for us to improve. I continue to be encouraged by the fight I see on every court,” head coach Brandon Padgett said.

On Saturday, the Zips took two out of three matches in doubles action against UMKC. Ariadna Blinova and Karolina Maksimova claimed a 6-3 victory over UMKC’s Schulte and Marina Albert in No. 2 doubles play while Echeverry and Zerbola defeated Linda Mouhoub and Mariam Kurasbediani in No. 3 doubles, 6-2.

In singles action, Cornell won five of six matches against Akron. The Zips’ lone win came at No. 3 as junior Maksimova overcame Dena Tanenbaum, 7-6 (5), 1-6, 1-0 (8).

“Today I saw a lot of what I needed to see. This group fought hard, made adjustments, and worked hard from beginning to end,” Padgett said on Saturday.

The Shootout finished on Sunday with a round of doubles against Youngstown State and a round of single versus the Cleveland State Vikings.

In the doubles action, the Zips claimed two of the three matches. At No. 2 Newnes and Zerbola won their match, 7-5, while Echeverry and Wituski were easy 6-2 winners. Echeverry and Wituski had the successful weekend by winning every match they were involved in.

Against the Vikings, Akron managed to take five of the six matches as Blinova, Morgan Nix, Newnes, Echeverry, Zerbola, and Wituski all earned victories.

“Doubles was much better today, with each team showing vast improvement as the weekend progressed, while in singles, everyone played exceptionally well,” coach Padgett said.