Written by: Christian Turner
The UA tennis team excelled this weekend in Mid-American Conference play, defeating Western Michigan 5-2, and Bowling Green score.
“Our recent success is due to a combination of hard work at practice, preparing the team for match play and the fun, open atmosphere we have with our team,” said second Zips Head Coach Brandon Padgett, whose team was recently ranked 65th by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association.
On Friday, the team traveled to Kalamazoo to face off against the Western Michigan University Broncos.
The Zips have won four out of the last five matches against WMU. The teams’ last meeting ended in a 4-0-decision victory for Akron in the MAC semi-finals in 2011.
Doubles partners Zara Harutyunyan and Prang Pantusart, who were ranked 80th by ITA in March, defeated No. 1 doubles April Kerr and Nini Sujashvili with a score of 8-5.
The team fell short at No. 2, where Angelika Jogasuria and Natalia Kuvakina lost 9-8(5) to Jill Pastunink and Maria Nivia.
Angelina Jogasuria and Olga Shkundina lost to Caroline Aleck and Kathleen Hawkins at No. 3, 8-6.
This loss at doubles broke a six-game streak and was the third time this season Akron was not able to obtain the point.
In singles, Harutyunyan defeated Sujashvili at No. 1 in two sets with both scores of 6-2.
At No. 2, Shkundina, who was awarded MAC Player of the Week in February, beat Maggie Remynse in two sets, 6-4 and 7-5.
Pantusart fell short at No. 3 to WMU’s Nivia 6-3, 6-2.
Angelina and Angelika Jogusuria were successful at the No. 4 and 5 slots, while Kuvakina brought the single point home at No. 6 in a two set victory.
On Saturday, The Zips traveled to Bowling Green, where they scored their eighth shutout of the season.
Harutyunyan and Pantusart led the way in doubles, improving their dual match record to 17-0 and 4-0 in MAC play.
Kuvakina and Angelika Jogasuria brought home the win at No. 2 with a score of 8-4.
No. 3 pair Angelina Jogasuria and Shkundina defeated the Falcons 8-6.
The team dominated every slot of singles in two sets. For No. 2 Shkundina, this win against Bowling Green improved her MAC record to 4-0.
“We have always been a successful singles team, as we have a group of young ladies that grew up playing mainly singles as juniors,” Padgett said. “We have worked on specific strategies to improve their individual games.”
The Zips go into this week with three matches of MAC play on the schedule.
“This team needs to focus more on what they can control, giving full effort each time they step on the court,” Padgett said. “If they do that, we have an opportunity to repeat as MAC Tournament Champions.”
Akron, who is now 17-0 overall and 3-1 in the MAC, will go into their next home match against Buffalo on Saturday, April 7.