Marcus Taliaferro, Athletics Communications Assistant – Intern
BOURBONNAIS – The University of St. Francis women’s tennis begins the season on an impressive note as six Fighting Saints athletes claimed at least one victory at the In the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Central-East Regional Small College Championships at Olivet Nazarene University.
In singles action, Alyssa Larsen (SR/Morris, Ill), Kiana Sikich (FR/Mokena, Ill), Denisse Lizano (SO/Quito, Ecuador), Yashleen Kheterpal (SR/Bhilai, India), Nikkie Christiansen (JR/Rockford, Ill), and Maria Kuzminskaya (SR/Saint Petersburg Russia) all earned opening-round victories. Sikich and Larsen would, unfortunately, fall in the second round of action with Lizano, Kheterpal, Kuzminskaya, and Christiansen advancing to the quarterfinals.
In the quarterfinals, Lizano would emerge victorious earning a 6-7(5), 6-3, 10/8 against Olivet Nazarene’s Anna Verdu advancing to the semi-finals. Christiansen would join her in the semifinals defeating USF teammate Yashleen Kheterpal 6-4, 7-5. Kuzminskaya would also fall in the quarterfinals ending her singles run.
Christiansen would clinch a spot in the finals defeating UHSP’s Erin Davis 7-5, 6-2. Lizano would also clinch a spot in the finals defeating Olivet Nazarene’s Narjis Mzibri 6-0, 6-3. This would create an all USF final in which Christiansen would emerge victorious defeating her teammate 6-4, 7-6 (7-5).
In doubles action, Christiansen and Kuzminskaya would cruise to the finals winning a semifinals matchup 8-5 over UHSP’s Erin Davis and Emily Stevenson. They would fall short in the finals against Olivet Nazarene’s Narjis Mzibri and Nirva Patel.
Lizano and Sikich would also claim an 8-4 opening-round victory defeating Olivet Nazarene’s Emily Belschner and Susan Shin before falling in the second round. The duo of Kheterpal and Larsen shared a similar story winning their opening round matchup against Olivet Nazarene’s Emma Bush and Abigail Wakeley 8-5. The duo would fall short in the second round.
The Fighting Saints will return to action on October 17th in a home matchup vs. Olivet Nazarene University.