The Rams tennis team brought home an array of honors from the Drake Invitational in Des Moines, Iowa.
Most notable was senior CSU player Sanja Hansson strolling over Nebraska’s Jen Baccarani in the top-flight singles championship to win her second title in a row. Hansson won her championship match in two sets (6-3, 6-2) and is currently on a 10-match win streak that puts her as one of the front-runners in the region.
“This was an excellent result for her,” said Jon Mussick, the Rams’ head coach. “She is just playing great tennis right now.”
Freshman Carla Pallares won the back draw of flight D. Pallares defeated Kelly Crull of Missouri 6-3, 6-0. The other freshman on the team, Jessica Jones, lost in the flight C finals to Missouri’s Lucie Ruskova (4-6, 6-4, 6-1).
“Nebraska and Missouri both have very good teams,” Mussick said. “They are among the best in the region.”
The goal of the Rams’ fall season was to work on the doubles play that let them down last year. The work is paying off already with an impressive outing in Des Moines.
Tatyana Ugorich and Pallares doubled up and almost took it all the way. They made it to the final of flight B but lost to Nebraska’s Harvey and Garcia. Jones and partner Alexandra Paganetti won the back draw of the flight.
“I was extremely pleased with the doubles play; we were able to do things that we’ve been working on,” Mussick said. “They did really well; they took the net away from their opponents.”
Mussick is very impressed with how well the team is coming together both on and off the field.
“This team has great chemistry,” Mussick said. “Even when they’re off the court they are laughing non-stop.”
There is just one more tournament before the winter break, the Omni Hotels Central Championship in Tulsa, Okla., on Wednesday. Only two players will be going to the tournament, Hansson and sophomore Dasha Zhurin. The two will play both singles and doubles in an attempt to finish the season on a high note.
After that the student-athletes will be put on a five-day-a-week workout program to keep them conditioned for the spring.
“The real stuff starts in the spring, that’s when we play our conference matches,” Messick said. “The fall has been a learning experience; we really got what we needed last week.”
Ram tennis will return on Feb 8, against Drake in Lincoln, Neb.
-Edited by Jon Ackerman and Josh Hardin