For the first time in school history, the Rams tennis team had
two players advance out of the first round ITA Regionals tournament
in Salt Lake City.
Junior Dasha Zhurin advanced to the round of sixteen, and
freshman Emily Kirchem advanced to the second round to lead the
Rams in their final tournament of the fall season last weekend.
“I thought the team did a great job last weekend,” said head
coach John Messick. “We were just a few points here and there from
having a good tournament turn into a great one.”
Zhurin got off to a hot start cruising past first-round opponent
Megan Ferriera of Arkansas and came back in the next round to upset
Kansas State’s Haley McIver before being eliminated by University
of Denver’s Yanick Dullins, 6-4, 6-1. Meanwhile Kirchem ousted
Colorado’s Morgan Sall 2-6, 6-0, 6-3 then fell in the second round
to Kansas’ Emily Haylock.
“Dasha had two solid wins that put her in the top 20 before she
lost to Dullins,” Messick said. “It was a real close match and a
few things here and there and she could have been looking at the
Playing some of her best tennis of the year, Zurhin said she
played her game and went with the flow of the tournament.
“I felt very relaxed out there,” Zhurin said. “I didn’t try to
rush things, usually I get tense when I play, but I just settled
down and played my own game.”
Sophomore doubles partners, Jessica Jones and Jasmin Singh
overcame conference rival, Brigham Young, in their first round
doubles match, providing some consistency for the teams doubles
pairings, a problem that has plagued the Rams all season.
“We’re starting to get into a groove with our doubles pairings,”
Singh said. “We know who plays best with who and the pairings are
only getting better.”
“Our doubles looked a lot stronger this weekend,” he said. “The
girls did a great job against BYU and then fell to a really hot New
Although the Rams only had two players advance to the later
rounds, they have certainly showed signs of promise and proved
themselves worthy of a high level of competition.
“This is a really young and talented team, we return everybody
next season and I expect these girls to improve more and more as
the year goes on,” Messick said.
The Regional tournament concluded the Rams fall season, however
the preparation for the spring season has already begun.
“Overall I think this is a very good team,” Zhurin said. “The
girls are working hard and things are really starting to come
together. This weekend we showed that we can compete with the top
players in the region and we need to carry that attitude into the