GV women's tennis showcases depth at tournament

Lakers dominate singles B drawing at ITA Regional Championships

By Beau Troutman | 9/27/15 11:38pm

GVL / Emily Frye Sophomore Alexa Sweeny makes a hard hit against Saginaw Valley State University on Sat. Sep. 12th.

The Grand Valley State women’s tennis team competed at the Division II Midwest ITA Regional Championships in Indianapolis over the weekend.

The event is separate from GLIAC competition, and serves as a showcase for schools across the country. Results from the tournament count toward national player rankings and give players the opportunity to go up against top players in their region.

Tournaments for both singles and doubles play are featured. The singles are divided into three groups: A, B and C, with A being the highest level of competition. Doubles are split into two groups, A and B.

Similar to March Madness, the ITA regionals are in a bracket-style format. Singles A and B both begin with 64 players, singles C with 16, and both doubles with 32 pairings.

GVSU’s Aimee Moccia, Abby Perkins, Livia Christman and Alexa Sweeney took part in the singles A tournament. Sweeney was the only player not to advance to the round of 32, losing to Northwood’s Carol Arnez-Mercado, 6-3, 6-0.

Moccia was the only player to make it past the round of 32. In the round of sixteen, she faced the overall No. 1 seed of the tournament, Indianapolis’s Stephanie Hirsch, and lost 6-4, 6-1.

“We won a couple matches, and then got unlucky and ran into a couple high-seeded players (in the A tournament). Overall, I thought we did pretty well,” Moccia said.

The final round of singles B were not played, due to good old fashioned GVSU domination. The Lakers' Rachel Sumner, Nicole Heiniger, Madison Ballard and Samanatha Schrepferman all advanced to the final four, and, because of this, the singles B tournament was stopped short of completion.

“We did extremely well,” said GVSU head coach John Black. “I think our results show how deep our team is. We’re probably the deepest team in the region.”

The results were similar in singles C. GVSU’s Calla Ramont and Katarina Samardzija both advanced to the final round, and played each other for the title. The players were given the option of playing an 8-point pro set or a regular two set match because they were on the same team, and went with the former. Samardzija came out on top, 8-0.

“I definitely do not like playing people I know,” Samardzija said. “It’s definitely nerve-wracking, but it’s also exciting being able to prove yourself over other people. At the end of the match, the person on the other side of the net is still your friend and you’re able to walk off the court laughing, so that’s always good.”

In doubles A, GVSU was represented by the pairings of Moccia/Sumner and Sweeney/Ballard. Sweeney and Ballard won their first match, but lost to Hillsdale’s Halle Hyman and Lindsay Pierce, 9-7.

Moccia and Sumner, the No. 1 seed in regular season play, advanced to the quarterfinals, where they lost 8-2 to Indianapolis’s Hirsch and Florence Renard, the No. 2 seed of the tournament.

In doubles B, Samardzija and Schrepferman were the No. 1 seed and were given a first round bye, but were upset by Tiffin’s Caroline Harpainter and Adel Musina, 9-8.

Heineger and Ramont lost in the first round to Ashland’s Martina Baca and Meghann Fitzpatrick, 8-4. Christman and Abby Perkins advanced all the way to the quarterfinals, but lost to Hillsdale’s Madeline Bissett and Sydney Delp, 8-3.

Black was happy with his players’ performance.

“Winning a point at the top of the lineup or winning a point at the bottom, it doesn’t really matter as long as you get the points. I felt we played well overall, and we were right there with everyone in the region,” he said.

The Lakers resume GLIAC play on Oct. 3 with two matches. GVSU will start the day at home against Tiffin at 10 a.m., and play at Davenport at 3 p.m. Following those two matches, the Lakers will finish the weekend at home Oct. 5 with a tilt against Findlay.

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