Adams to lead women’s tennis this spring

By Jay Huerbin

It seems like Elizabeth Adams is going to do just fine in her junior season.

Last year, Adams teamed up with now-graduated senior Kristy Borza on her way to 25 wins — a single-season record at Pitt — in No. 1 doubles.

But despite the loss of Borza, Adams looked sharp on her way to an Honors Singles finals appearance at a tournament in West Point this past weekend.

That’s good news for the Panthers, who are expecting big things from Adams this year.

“She picked herself back up [after her second-round loss] and beat some good players,” head coach George Dieffenbach said. “She made good progress this weekend and will get better after this tournament.”

The Panthers were one of nearly 30 teams to travel to New York for the West Point Eastern Tennis Invitational — the first of the year for Pitt.

As the No. 5 seed in the tournament, Adams fell to Victoria Aiello from Middleburg College in the second round of No. 1 singles, but that didn’t slow her down. She went on to finish second in her consolation bracket, the Honors Singles.

It was a strong showing, but not the only one for the Panthers at the tournament.

Sophomore Minh Evans, who started out playing in the No. 4 singles bracket, lost to Lauren Rottkamp of Bucknell in the first round. But she went on to capture the Faith Singles title.

Both Evans and Adams finished the tournament going 2-2.

Their success comes as no surprise to Dieffenbach. The Panthers are coming off a successful season, which included a 12-10 overall record and a 6-3 showing in Big East play.

“It’s a very strong tournament,” he said. “The purpose of these early season tournaments is to face fine competition. [Adams and Evans] grew from this and it will help them.”

Last year also marked the highest finish at the Big East Championships for the Panthers. Pitt tied for seventh after entering the tournament as the No. 9 seed.

In the conference tournament, Adams led the Panthers to a first-round defeat of Cincinnati in the Big East Championships — the victory was the first-ever for the team in the first round of the tournament.

She finished the season with a 22-6 record, was named the team MVP after the tournament and earned All-Big East honors after the season.

Adams looks to lead the Panthers this year, but other athletes are also stepping up. Senior Shannon Benic (2-2) and junior Adela Aprodu (1-1) also collected wins at the Invitational.

Benic took part in the third singles bracket, losing her first match but advancing to the semifinals of the consolation bracket. In the No. 2 singles bracket, Aprodu won her first round matchup before falling in the Round of 16.

In doubles action, freshmen Karma Parbhu and Gabrielle Catanzariti went 4-2 on the weekend and finished third in the Lichtenberg Doubles bracket. Two of their wins came against conference opponents Alexandra Harvey and Slavina Kaplanska of Seton Hall.

For Dieffenbach, early season wins against Big East rivals are something to keep in mind.

“That’s what we want,” he said about the doubles wins. “We want to be able to face teams we’ll see later on. We have confidence heading into the spring season that we can beat Big East opponents.”

The Panthers will take part in two more tournaments before the winter break. They will be in Norfolk, Va., this weekend to take part in the Sergio Tacchini Invitational.