Women’s tennis opens season with three consecutive wins

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The Southern Miss women’s tennis team started its 2019 spring season at home with a 4-0 win over Florida A&M on Friday, a 4-0 win over Jackson State on Saturday and a third 4-0 victory on the road against Alcorn State on Sunday.

Southern Miss started off against Florida A&M with a 6-1 win from the No. 2 doubles duo of senior Rikeetha Pereira and freshman Ebru Zeynep Yazgan over Haleigh Porter and Aylen Hubeaut. On the No. 3 doubles court, sophomores Katia de la Garza and Tanit Lopez defeated Rachel Harden and Sophia Osabouhien 6-2.

Although unfinished, the No. 1 doubles team of sophomore Arina Amaning and senior Tjasa Jerse held a 5-2 lead against Mialiniaina Rakotondrazafy and Karen Machisa.

“I felt that we started off very strong at doubles today to get the match rolling,” Southern Miss head coach Steve Schram said of his team’s performance against Florida A&M. “Rikeetha closed out a close match at the end to help us secure the win. Overall, I was pleased with how the girls played today and we hope to get more of that tomorrow.”

In singles, Pereira won 6-3, 6-4 over Porter, followed by a 6-3, 6-2 win from de la Garza over Hubeaut. Making her debut on the day, sophomore Anastasija Cobanovic won her singles match 6-0, 6-2 over Machisa.

Three courts had unfinished matches, including Amaning on No. 1 singles, Jerse on No. 4 singles and Yazgan on No. 5 singles.

The Golden Eagles captured their second win of the season against Jackson State at home on Saturday.  

The day started with two 6-2 wins from the No. 1 doubles duo of Amaning and Jerse and No. 2 doubles team of Pereira and Zeynep Yazgan. Jackson State led the unfinished No. 3 doubles match of de la Garza and Lopez by a 5-4 score.

Zeynep Yazgan clinched the first singles win of the day for the Golden Eagles with a 6-0, 6-2 victory on court five against Lucia Placidi. de la Garza also won 6-1, 6-0 over Lily Zhang. Coming through with the final point, Pereira defeated Oni Jones in singles by scores of 6-1, 6-1.

“I thought we had great energy all match, which helped us come out strong in doubles,” Schram said. “We’ll need that same energy tomorrow when we go to Alcorn State for a tough road match. 

Against Alcorn State on Sunday, Jerse and Amaning won 6-2 on over Anastasia Vaganova and Stefany Grlj. The doubles duo of Pereira and Yazgan also won 6-2 against Bianca Birkenstock and Klavdija Bukovec. The Golden Eagles won the No. 3 doubles match by forfeit.

In singles play, Katia de la Garza defeated Grlj 6-0, 6-0. Zeynep Yazgan won against Bukovec 6-0, 6-1 Amaning, Pereira and Jerse all had unfinished singles matched on the day. Freshman Monique Burton also won a singles match by forfeit.

With three wins in the opening weekend of play, Southern Miss starts the season with a 3-0 win-loss record. The Golden Eagles will host West Alabama on Feb. 2 at 2 p.m.