FORT MYERS, Fla. – The FGCU women’s tennis team opened up play of the 2014 regular season with a dominating force as the Eagles were the last ones standing in all three singles brackets of the FGCU Spring Invite. If this weekend’s shutouts are any indication of what’s to come under first-year head coach Courtney Vernon FGCU tennis fans should get their brooms ready, because it’s going to be a season of sweeps.
“The team competed hard this weekend which showed through how many matches they were able to play,” Vernon said. “My number one goal was for them to play a variety of opponents and work on different aspects of their game, which was accomplished. We took all three flights of singles, a great achievement for the girls. They were able to step and finish under pressure and that takes courage. There is a lot to work on in the upcoming week, but overall we saw a lot of growth in the last four days.”
Bringing home the first victory for the Green and Blue was Sarah Means (Wesley Chapel, Fla./Wiregrass Ranch HS) with a dominant win over Iowa State’s Ksenia Pronina to be crowned champion of the A singles draw, the tournament’s top honor. After falling 6-4, 7-5 to Means in Friday afternoon’s dual match, Pronina was looking to avenge her prior loss entering Monday mornings championship contest. Unfortunately for the Cyclone all she got was one hold of her serve as Means flew to a 6-1, 6-0 win for the hardware.
Joining her sister in the winner’s circle was Elizabeth Means (Wesley Chapel, Fla./Wiregrass Ranch HS) after fighting a three-set battle with the same determination that’s seen on center court of a Grand Slam. Facing Northwestern State’s Kateryna Piatakova, Means dropped the first set of the B singles final, 3-6, but regained control in the second to win a dominant 6-1 and force a 10-point-tiebreaking third set for the win. What is supposed to be a quick way to name a winner, the tiebreak between the two was everything but as it saw four lead changes and ten championship points before Means ended it 35 minutes later with an 18-16 win.
Completing the singles championship sweep was Candela Munoz (Alicante, Spain/Troy) with a no nonsense 6-4, 6-2 win over FAU’s Biana Biglione for the C singles crown. In her three-match journey to become the last one standing, Munoz beat each of her opponents in straight sets and outscored them 35-12.
Through three days of competition the Eagles racked up a total 24 wins, an improvement of last year’s 19 in the same tournament.
The Green and Blue will continue action of the 2014 season as they welcome Louisiana Tech to the FGCU Tennis Complex on Jan. 24 at 1:30 p.m. For complete coverage of FGCU women’s tennis follow us on Twitter at @FGCU_WTEN and visit www.FGCUAthletics.com where full recaps and results will be available at the end of each day.
SINGLES- FLIGHT A
Sarah Means (FGCU) def. Ksenia Pronina (ISU)– 6-1, 6-0
Breana Stampfli (FGCU) def. Meghan Cassens (ISU) – 6-2, 6-0
SINGLES- FLIGHT B
Elizabeth Means (FGCU) def. Kateryna Piatakova (NSU)– 3-6 , 6-1, 1-0 (18-16)
Julie Gauguery (ASU) def. Bettina Botha (FGCU) – 7-5, 6-3
Johanna Sterkel (FGCU) def. Jess Heeps-Eriksen (ASU) – 6-2, 6-1
Claire-Mitchell Andrews (FAU) def. Gyanna Mandic (FGCU) – 6-4, 2-6, 1-0 (10-4)
SINGLES- FLIGHT C
Candela Munoz Giron (FGCU) def. Biana Biglione (FAU) – 6-4, 6-2
DOUBLES- FLIGHT A
Budai/Pronina (ISU) def. Means/Means (FGCU) – 7-5
Ladutska/Williams (NSU) def. Botha/Sterkel (FGCU) – 6-2
DOUBLES- FLIGHT B
Krutova/Piatakova (NSU) def. Mandic/Stampfli (FGCU)– 6-1