Tennis: Adams records 100th win as Panthers compete during fall season

By Evan Burgos

Elizabeth Adams became the fastest tennis player to 100 wins in Pitt history by going 4-2 at the… Elizabeth Adams became the fastest tennis player to 100 wins in Pitt history by going 4-2 at the Old Dominion Collegiate Invitational.

The junior won the singles consolation bracket and teamed with senior Shannon Benic to make the semifinals of the doubles main draw. After traveling to Norfolk, Va., for the invitational, the Panthers are two-thirds finished with their fall schedule.

In the quarterfinals, Adams and Benic beat the tournament’s No. 1 seed, Alex Bara and Josefin Hjertquist of Virginia Commonwealth, in a tiebreaker 9-8 (3). The pairing fell 8-3 in the semis to Delaware’s Ivana Petrich and Montserrat Ripoll, but still impressed.

“[It was] one of the best performances I’ve seen two players make in a Pitt uniform,” coach George Dieffenbach said. “They played aggressive and consistent. They played a good combination of offense and defense, which is what good doubles teams do. We expect great leadership from them. They have a lot experience.”

The freshman doubles tandem of Gabi Cantanzariti and Karma Parbhu and partners Adela Aprodu and Minh Evans also recorded wins in the main draw.

Dieffenbach said he was satisfied with his team’s results and cited the heightened competition of the invitational, compared to the tournament at West Point in which the Panthers participated one week prior.

The team will wrap up its fall schedule at the ITA tournament from Oct. 23-27.

“We got confidence, and everybody recorded some wins and they came back a better team,” he said. “It’ll be a good test for them at the ITA tourney. That’s very strong. There will be some tremendous talent there.

“I would be very pleased to get to the quarters in singles and quarters in doubles in that tournament. Then, we can start to challenge for Eastern division rankings, possible national rankings.”

The team will have several months off from competition until match and conference play commence in early February.

The team has yet to set an official ladder but will start challenge matches before the spring season. For now, Adams figures to be the squad’s No. 1 singles player and will team up with Benic to form No. 1 doubles.

In the spring, the team will have to factor in the now-injured Sabrina Visram, a senior, who was the team’s No. 2 singles and doubles player before tearing her ACL last winter.

Visram’s return, combined with Adam’s steady play, provides reason for optimism heading into the spring season, but Dieffenbach remains modest in setting team goals.

Coming off a year when the Panthers finished tied for seventh in the Big East, Dieffenbach said he hopes to finish in the top five this year. He’d also like to finish with a winning record in the Big East and in overall record.

To finish in the top five in the conference standings, the team will compete against schools who offer full athletic scholarships to all players — something Pitt does not.

Dieffenbach expressed doubtful sentiments.

“Those top five teams in the Big East are all full scholarships,” he said. “We’ll do our best, though.”