Women’s Tennis: Panthers pass early test in New York

By Kelly Flanigan

In its first tournament of the season, the Pitt women’s tennis team boasted victories in both… In its first tournament of the season, the Pitt women’s tennis team boasted victories in both singles and doubles play, and freshmen and sophomores accounted for several of the wins.

This past weekend, the Panthers debuted their fall schedule at the Women’s Eastern Collegiate Invitational held in West Point, N.Y.

“We took the team to a very good tournament this weekend. We were a strong team going in with good players, faced great competition and came away with great results,” head coach George Dieffenbach said.

Four Panthers played in singles play, and two Pitt doubles teams competed at the tournament.

Elizabeth Adams kicked off singles play for the Panthers as the No. 6 seed and came from behind in the first-round match to defeat her Long Island opponent by a score of 10-1 in the tiebreaker.

She then took on Fordham’s Angie Dabu and again won the tiebreaker 10-5.

“I think positivity is the main key, and I’ve learned that throughout my collegiate career. I was down in both of my matches, but I was able to come back and win. It’s not over until it’s over. You just have to hang in and remain positive,” Adams said.

Freshman Jocelyn Lu picked up early victories of 6-4 and 6-3 over Hofstra’s Christie Gattelaro.

She then defeated Bryant’s Steph Smyers by even larger margins. Later, she lost to the No. 3 seed in the tournament 6-2, 6-1.

“Jocelyn did amazing in her first match of the season. I thought it was great that she was able to start off so well,” Adams said.

In all, Lu finished third out of a bracket of 32 girls in the first collegiate match of her career.

“She got some confidence at this tournament. She faced a nice level of competition,” Dieffenbach said. “[Jocelyn] embraced the challenge and did her best. It was a good show from a freshman at her first tournament.”

Senior Adela Aprodu swept her competition 6-0, 6-0 in the first round and went on to defeat Sarah Viebrock, the No. 3 seed from Quinnipiac.

But, she lost to West Virginia’s Melis Tanik in the quarterfinals.

Pitt’s No. 1 doubles team of freshman Kimmy Borza and sophomore Karma Parbhu defeated West Virginia’s doubles team but later lost to Fairleigh Dickinson’s team by a margin of 8-4.

They moved on to defeat Lehigh, but ultimately lost to Sacred Heart 8-5 in the semifinals.

“We got a lot of good wins on the board today,” Adams said. “Hopefully we grow and do better in the next tournament.”

Junior Minh Evans and freshman Brittney Russell make up Pitt’s second doubles team.

They advanced to the quarterfinals after a bye and then a victory over Providence.

They lost in the quarterfinals to St. John’s.

“This year our team is much more closely knit, and we get along better which helps with morale. Our goal for the fall is for everyone to get some good wins and to get a lot of experience for the spring, especially for the freshmen,” Adams said.

“There is less pressure in the fall than in the spring season. The goal is for every player to improve, become more aggressive and consistent, and for someone to win a championship,” Dieffenbach said. “We would like to obtain regional and national rankings as a team.”

The team will play in the Sergio Tacchini Collegiate Invitational on Oct. 8, a tournament hosted by Old Dominion.