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Eagles transitioning with new coach

Women’s tennis came home from the Bedford Cup on Monday with success in the doubles matches and an individual win in the consolation singles match.

“I was happy with how the girls finished it. They worked on the things we are working on and applied it into their games,” head coach Courtney Vernon said.

With four days of play from October 10-13, the team won eight singles matches and three doubles matches. This was the second tournament that the team had with their new coach and their relationship continued to build.

“We are having a good transition into competitive play with her,” sophomore Elizabeth Means said. “She is learning how we like to be coached and she knows how to deal with each of us.”

Senior Bettina Botha and sophomore Johanna Sterkel kicked off the tournament defeating their Bethune-Cookman competitors 8-6 in the first doubles round. Means and her sister Sarah Means, also competed in doubles, but lost to their University of Central Florida competitors.

Following doubles, the first round of single matches was underway. Sophomore Elizabeth Means and junior Candela Munoz Giron won their singles matches to advance to Friday’s singles matches.

“It was a tough match so I felt good winning it. Coming back from a 3-0 deficit in the first set was nice. It was a tough round so I was glad I was able to pull through,” Elizabeth Means said.

Sarah Means lost to Olga Martinez of University of South Florida on Thursday, but won her consolation singles match later in the day against Gabby Chinchilla of Bethune-Cookman.

Friday morning, Botha and Sterkel defeated Clare Mendel and Sophia Baptista of the University of Central Florida to advance to Saturday’s round of doubles.

On Friday, Elizabeth Means and Munoz Giron competed in the second round of singles, but lost to their competitors.

In the singles consolation matches, Means and Botha won to advance to Saturday.

On Saturday, the day started off with the doubles quarterfinal and semifinal. Sterkel and Botha set records with their performance, being the first doubles team from FGCU to advance to the semifinals in a tournament filled with Florida’s best teams. They beat Stetson in a tiebreak to advance to the semifinals. They faced the UF team in the semifinal round, but lost 8-3.

After the doubles match, Sara Means defeated Mayablue Staudder-MacDowell of Stetson in the consolation quarterfinals. She was the only player on the team set to compete on Sunday.

“I tried to be calm and have the same mentality as other matches since I was successful in them. I just wanted to keep the momentum,” Sarah Means said.

On Sunday morning, Means defeated UF’s Stefani Stojic in the semifinal consolation draw and faced University of North Florida’s Mariella Calderon in the final. She defeated her 6-2, 6-3 and won the backdraw.

“It was grueling, but the length of the time that we were there was based on our results. It was good that were there all of the days because it meant that we were doing well,” Sarah Means said.

The players head out Wednesday for regionals in Athens, Ga., from October 28-30. With such a quick turnaround, the players are keeping it simple and building off their performance this past weekend.

“It is a quick turnaround. We are working on a few little things. We are not going to work on anything major with us going right into the next tournament,” Vernon said. “We are building off of the Bedford Cup and looking forward to competing again.”

With regionals this weekend and the Florida International University Invitational, from November 1-3, the team heads into the last two tournaments of the fall season ready to compete.

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