Sept. 28, 2013
PITTSBURGH - Pitt's tennis team continued action Saturday at the Hokie Fall Invitational in Blacksburg, Va., with the Panthers advancing to three finals.
"The way we played doubles today says a lot about this team's ability to be coachable, to take constructive criticism, and to be passionate about their program," said head coach Alex Santos. "We went on the court to be aggressive, to make the right decisions, and to play with a high level of energy regardless of the score. It was clear that we were definitely able to execute under pressure today. We applied the right patterns, we made these same patterns more solid, and the next goal is to add more quality into the picture. It won't ever be the perfect day, but there is no doubt in my mind that today our four doubles teams got better."
The Flight A doubles team of Kimmy Borza and Blakely won twice on Saturday to advance to the final with an 8-6 win over the squad from Marshall and 8-4 over Liberty's team of Khval and Rivera. They will meet up with VCU's Barscheuskaya and Yakauleva on Sunday at 9 a.m. Additionally, in the consolation bracket, Taylor Washington and Amanda Wickman defeated the team from Liberty, 8-3, and will be in tomorrow's consolation bracket final.
Pitt's Flight B doubles team of Katherine Castro and Molly Wickman advanced to the finals with an 8-6 win over James Madison. They will face Jenkins and Rickard of Liberty on Sunday at 9 a.m. Advancing to the Flight B consolation finals was Pitt's duo of Jocelyn Lu and Lolade Ogungbesan advanced to the finals with an 8-3 win over Radford's team of Fay and Michael.
"In singles Amanda was just a couple of points away from turning her match into a third set battle, but just came up a little short," continued Santos. "Being down 5-2 in that second set and getting it back to almost 5-5 just shows her fighting mentality.
"I was happy to see Jocelyn using her tennis intelligence to play a more disciplined and organized game style to win matches. Katherine bounced back from yesterday's slow start in singles and played with extreme poise during the most important points of her match. Audrey Ann played a very complete match with some spectacular points, and the team did a tremendous job in elevating her level with their support."
In Flight B singles, freshman Audrey Ann Blakely moved on to the finals with a 6-3, 6-3 win over Carol Kahoun of Virginia Tech. She will face Karli Timko of Marshall Sunday at 10 a.m.
Also in Flight B singles, Amanda Wickman fell to Timko of Marshall, 6-2, 6-4 and Katherine Castro defeated Palmucci of James Madison, 6-0, 6-7(3), 1-0(4). She will face Napolitano of Radford on Sunday at 10:30 a.m.
In Flight C singles, Lu is alive in the consolation bracket after a 6-3, 6-4 win over Mabe of Liberty. Lu will face Domenech of Liberty on Sunday at 10 a.m. Also in Flight C, Ogungbesan defeated Thong, 6-3, 6-0, and will face Gulsrud of Marshall Sunday at 10 a.m. Molly Wickman dropped a 6-2, 6-2 match in the semifinals to Yang of Liberty.
Washington and Borza both dropped singles matches in Flight A singles as Washington fell 7-5, 1-6, 1-0(4) to Yakauleva of VCU and Borza fell 6-3, 6-3 to Barscheuskaya, also of VCU.
"Being in 3 out of 5 possible finals makes us excited to get back on the court tomorrow," said Santos. "We know as a program that our success is defined by our consistency in doing the right things on a daily basis."
The Panthers wrap up action in the Hokie Fall Invitational on Sunday.