Oct 282003
 
Authors: Rob Bombard

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

quarterfinals.”

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.”

Messick agreed.

“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

Mexico team.”

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

spring.”

 

 

 

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