Tuesday, 17 October 2017 15:30

ITA Regional Wrap Up - Turati, Lommer, Novotna, & Patten Win Singles Titles; Evansville Eliminates Women's Tennis Program

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The ITA Carolina Regional had a strong field with the likes of Nicolas Alvarez, Gabriel Friedrich, Robert Kelly, and Christian Seraphim but when play commenced on Tuesday morning the big winner was UNC Asheville junior Henry Patten. The reigning Big South Player of the Year won all six matches in straight sets, including a 6-3, 6-1 win in the singles final over Clemson's Alex Favrot, to earn an automatic bid in the ITA National Fall Championships. Below are some comments from UNCA's recap:

"It shows a lot of the hard work is worth it and the progression is really nice," Patten mused. "I just want to thank Coach Tom Hand as he has been a big part of that progression. I also want to thank my teammates and my family for keeping up in England. It was a really long weekend of tennis and their support really helped."

"I think that this is going to show the whole team is playing at a really high level," Patten said. "I practice with those guys every day and I am able to compete at a very high level. It shows the margin is so small between UNC Asheville and others."

Texas sophomore Bianca Turati won an all-Texas singles final at the Texas Regional with a 7-5, 6-3 win over sophomore Petra Granic. Turati only dropped one set in her six matches with four of those wins coming over seeded players three of which were ranked in the ITA Top 125. Rice's Lindsey Hodge and Wendy Zhang prevented a Texas sweep by winning a close doubles final 3-6, 6-4, 10-8 over Marta Perez Mur and Dani Wagland.  

"Bianca and Petra waged a demanding battle," said UT head coach Howard Joffe via Texas's recap. "These ladies are teammates and roommates, and I cannot be more proud of the way in which the match was played. Both ladies were ferocious and yet were great sportswomen! Today, Bianca came out on top and no one is happier for her than Petra."

Michigan sophomore Chiara Lommer won the singles title at the Midwest Regional with a 6-0, 6-4 win over Ohio State redshirt freshman Shiori Fukuda. Lommer only dropped four games in each of her last two matches while winning four of her five matches in straight sets. 

 

 

Virginia Tech sophomore Natalie Novotna won a pair of matches on Tuesday to win the singles title at the Atlantic Regional. Novotna won her semifinal match over William & Mary's Clara Tanielian 6-0, 6-0 and then came back an hour later to defeat the top seed Virginia's Rosie Johanson 6-1, 6-4.  

Both the winner and runner-up from each regional will earn berths into the National Fall Championships. In the past only the winner was guaranteed a berth but with the field expanding from 32 to 64 both make it in now. To see a list of everyone that has qualified for the Fall Championships click this link.

 

Women:

Texas Regional (TCU) - 128 singles/64 doubles

Singles Final
[1] Bianca Turati (Texas 11.63) def. [4] Petra Granic (Texas 11.17) 7-5, 6-3

Doubles Final
[4] Lindsey Hodge/Wendy Zhang (Rice) def. [8] Marta Perez Mur/Dani Wagland (Texas) 3-6, 6-4, 10-8

 

Midwest Regional (Michigan) - 64 singles qualifying/64 singles/64 doubles

Singles Final
[5-8] Chiara Lommer (Michigan/11.01) def. [5-8] Shiori Fukuda (Ohio St/11.25) 6-0, 6-4

 

Atlantic Regional (Virginia Tech) - 32 singles qualifying/64 singles/64 doubles

Semifinals (Tuesday)
[1] Rosie Johanson (UVA) def. [7] Elena Cerezo-Codina (VT) 6-3, 6-1
[2] Natalie Novotna (VT) def. [8] Clara Tanielian (W&M) 6-0, 6-0

Singles Final
[2] Natalie Novotna (VT/11.39) def. [1] Rosie Johanson (UVA/11.59) 6-1, 6-4

 

 

Men: 

Carolina Regional (Cary, NC) - 128 singles/64 doubles

Singles Final
[8] Henry Patten (UNCA/13.59) def. [15] Alex Favrot (Clemson/13.65) 6-3, 6-1

Doubles Semifinals
[1] Alexis Galarneau/Michael Ogden (NCST) def. [4] Sean Sculley/Nick Stachowiak (Duke) 6-2, 5-7, 10-6
[3] Christian Seraphim/Julian Zlobinsky (Wake) def. [9] Simon Baudry/Alex Favrot (Clemson) 

Doubles Final
[3] Christian Seraphim/Julian Zlobinsky (Wake) def. [1] Alexis Galarneau/Michael Ogden (NCST) 2-6, 6-3, 10-0

 

Southeast Regional (Georgia Tech) - 64 qualifying/64 singles/64 doubles

Doubles Semifinals (Tuesday)
[1] Robert Loeb/Jan Zielinski (Georgia) def. [7] Andy Andrade/McClain Kessler (Florida) 6-3, 7-6(5)
[5] Oliver Crawford/Chase Perez-Blanco (Florida) def. Linus Bergevi/Colter Decoste (Stetson) w/o

Doubles Final (Tuesday)
[1] Robert Loeb/Jan Zielinski (Georgia) def. [5] Oliver Crawford/Chase Perez-Blanco (Florida) 6-4, 6-2

 

 

In a surprising move (at least to me) the University of Evansville has decided to discontinue it's women's tennis program effective immediately (release says at the end of the fall semester but the team has no more events scheduled). Evansville Athletic Director Mark Spencer used the following reasons for the discontinuation: the departure of its head coach, aging tennis courts/lack of indoor facility, and the school has more than the minimum number of sports required by the NCAA. 

Jayson Wiseman led Evansville to a 17-14 record last year and a spot in the Missouri Valley semifinals but on September 11th he decided to depart after two seasons to take the women's head coaching job at Eastern Michigan. I think it's pretty clear that there had been rumbling inside the athletic department about the stability of the program so I'm sure that played a role in Wiseman's decision to depart.  

Evansville had played all its matches off-campus since the 2012 season due to the poor conditions of the eight on-campus courts at the Carson Center.

Evansville had zero NCAA appearance since the program was started in the early 1980s. 

The current eight-women roster was comprised of two seniors, one junior, four sophomores, and one freshman. Two of the eight were from the United States while the other six were from foreign countries. All players are eligible for immediate transfer including sophomore Diana Tkachenko who was named the Missouri Valley Conference Freshman of the Year last season after going 33-8 singles. 

Evansville is second program in the MVC to eliminate tennis in 2017 with Southern Illinois making its announcement last January. The remaining schools that have women's tennis in the MVC are Bradley, Drake, Illinois State, Missouri State, Stony Brook, Northern Iowa, and the recently added Valpariaso. The MVC no longer sponsors men's tennis after Southern Illinois and Stony Brook dropped its men's programs last year plus Wichita State left to join the American Conference. 

Below is the full release from Evansville:

"This was an incredibly difficult decision because of the impact on the affected student-athletes, but it was one that was done with the best interests of our entire student-athlete body, the athletic department and the University of Evansville in mind," UE Director of Athletics Mark Spencer said. "This is something that has been discussed internally for several years and this is the right time for all parties involved to move forward with this action."

Three factors were pivotal in making this decision. The recent and untimely departure of previous head women's tennis coach Jayson Wiseman brought into question as to whether to hire a new coach or reconsider program elimination. Secondly, the successful addition of men's and women's track and field at the University of Evansville put the program above the NCAA minimum for NCAA Division I participation while also keeping the program in Title IX compliance. Lastly, the aging UE tennis courts, limited access to playing facilities within the community and the persistent financial challenges within the university also factored into the decision.

Consultation on this decision involved the University President, Title IX Coordinator, Faculty Athletic Committee, the University of Evansville's Board of Trustees Athletic Committee and the Director of Athletics.

"The timing of this was done in order to give our student-athletes as much time as possible to determine what is best for their future," Spencer added.

Current student-athletes on the team who are in good academic standing at UE will have the option to retain their financial aid until they graduate from the university. Student-athletes wishing to continue their playing career are immediately eligible to transfer and can be eligible for participation in the spring of 2018 semester.

This decision will not have any impact on UE's affiliation with the Missouri Valley Conference or the NCAA.

 

Read 661 times Last modified on Tuesday, 17 October 2017 15:54

2 comments

  • Comment Link Jayson Wiseman Tuesday, 14 November 2017 03:02 posted by Jayson Wiseman

    I actually had no idea the program was going to be eliminated and was incredibly shocked by the announcement and its timing as i was assisting in the recruitment process for a new head coach. I left Evansville for personal & professional advancement and family reasons.

    It is incredibly sad that the university made the decision they did as that team was denied the opportunity to win the program's first MVC title and qualify for the NCAA tournament. The only solace one can find in this decision is that the university did the right thing and is honoring the scholarships for those who wish to stay. Those that are choosing to continue their careers elsewhere have a number of amazing opportunities because if the success the program has had since Fall 2016.

    As the coach I was proud of our accomplishments and the direction of the team and I lament the decision made by the university.

  • Comment Link Bobby Knight Tuesday, 14 November 2017 07:21 posted by Bobby Knight

    Jayson, thanks for your comments. It definitely seemed like the announcement by the school came out of thin air. The discontinuing of programs in the Northeast and Missouri/Ohio Valley Conferences has been a disturbing trend that hopefully comes to a halt sooner rather than later. Best of luck to you at EMU!

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