Eagles win two non-conference games against Troy and University of Evansville
The Florida Gulf Coast University women’s tennis team heads into conference play after defeating Troy University and the University of Evansville this week.
The Eagles defeated Troy 5-2 on Sunday. They had to compete at the Three Oaks Tennis Center because of the FGCU men’s basketball game. They were able to practice at the courts two days before the match and were not deterred by the change.
“It worked out well, and it is not a bad spot to be at,” FGCU’s head coach Courtney Vernon said. “The girls and I were very grateful that we could go over there and play our match.”
The competition started with doubles play. Junior Sarah Means and sophomore Elizabeth Means lost their doubles match against Troy’s Anja Cosovic and Trang Huynh. Senior Bettina Botha and sophomore Johanna Sterkel won their doubles match against Troy’s Margot De Haan and Monica Gonzalez, but senior Gyanna Mandic and freshman Breana Stampfli lost to their Troy competitors 7-6. As a result, Troy had the advantage going into singles play.
“Troy played pretty good doubles matches and we weren’t quite on top of them from the beginning, and it showed in the results,” Vernon said. “Going into singles the girls were very clear in what they knew they needed to do.”
Responding to the doubles loss, the Eagles won five out of their six matches in singles play. Sarah Means, Elizabeth Means and junior Candela Munoz Giron defeated their Troy competitors in two sets. Sterkel’s match went into three sets, but she defeated Troy’s Cosovic 7-6, 1-6, 6-4. Botha’s match also went into three sets, and she beat Troy’s Brooke Durden 6-2, 2-6, 6-2.
The team came off of a two-week break where they worked on staying in the competitive mindset.
“Our coach had us play a lot of matches, so we could keep the mentality of staying focused all the time,” Botha said. “It was great for us to rest our bodies for the weeks to come.”
Coming off of a win against Troy on Sunday, the team played the University of Evansville on Tuesday at the FGCU tennis complex. They defeated Evansville 4-1 and are 6-4 for the season.
The team started the match against Evansville with doubles play similar to how it started the match against Troy. Elizabeth and Sarah Means lost to UE’s Kelsey Costales and Natasha James 8-7. New doubles team Munoz Giron and Stampfli defeated their UE competitors 8-3, but Sterkel and Botha lost their doubles match, giving UE the advantage going into singles play.
Despite losing the doubles point, the team won four of its six singles matches. Stampfli defeated UE’s James 6-4, 7-6 in the No. 2 spot. Sterkel beat UE’s Costales 6-3, 6-1 and Elizabeth Means won her match against UE’s Marina Moreno 6-3, 6-3. Munoz Giron cruised to a victory over UE’s Andjela Brguljan 6-0, 6-0. Sarah Means and Botha were not able to complete their matches but the team still secured the win.
The team heads into conference play for the next three weeks. They travel to East Tennesse State University on Friday to compete and then USC Upstate on Saturday.
“Conference is important, but the intent and the vision of what we want to do doesn’t change whoever is off the net,” Vernon said. “If we are committed to what we need to do on our side of the net, the results usually take care of themselves.”