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Three Eagles compete in ITA Regional

The Florida Gulf Coast University women’s tennis team competed in the ITA Southeast Regional Championship at the University of Georgia this weekend.
Sophomore Johanna Sterkel, sophomore Elizabeth Means and junior Sara Means competed based on their results in previous tournaments.
“It was a great experience to go to regionals because of the level, it was the best players in Florida and Georgia,” head coach Courtney Vernon said.
On Friday morning, the Means sisters competed in the doubles main draw. University of South Florida’s Fanny Fracassi and Olaya Garrido-Rivas defeated them, 8-3.
After doubles, the main singles matches were underway. Sterkel played Paola Garrido of Georgia Southern and lost 6-4, 7-5. The Means also lost their singles matches Friday afternoon.
Despite the losses, the players were able to learn a lot from their competitors.
“It was a great experience to play against big schools like Georgia Tech, Georgia state and the University of Miami that are close to winning national championships,” Sterkel said. “It was awesome to get this experience and see what they do different.”
On Saturday, the players were set to play in the main singles consolation draw. They were rained out with no space in the indoor tennis facility to compete. Therefore, consolation play was moved to Sunday.
“I always tell the girls that these challenges are going to make us tougher,” Vernon said. “Everybody is struggling with the same thing. It is how you handle adversity and things that are out of our control.”
Due to the rain delay, the consolation play ended on Sunday versus competing until there was a single winner. Sterkel won her consolation match against Mercer’s Isabel Dennis. Means had a walkover win in her match and Means lost her match to Jordana Klein of Georgia Southern.
“I was really happy that I won my consolation match because she was a really good opponent and it was close,” Sterkel said.
The team heads into their last tournament of the fall season in Miami at the FIU Invitational. The ending of the fall season amps up their anticipation for the Spring.
“I’m not looking forward to the fall season ending but with the close of the fall season that means spring is just around the corner,” Vernon said. “Of course I can’t wait for the spring to get here and that is what we are working towards.”
They have this weekend off and will head to Miami for the tournament held November 1-3.

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