The Utah women’s tennis team opened their spring season over the weekend at the Florida Gulf Coast University Invitational in Fort Myers, Fla. The Utes went face-to-face with St. John’s, Northwestern State and FGCU, and they registered multiple singles and doubles wins.
“I feel like it went really well overall,” said head coach Mat Iandolo. “We got exactly what we wanted out of it. Lots of competitive matches in a warm and humid environment at sea level.”
On Saturday, day one of competition, the Utes came out strong as they took down Northwestern State in doubles competition, 3-0. Brianna Turley and Margo Pletcher defeated Polina Ivanova and Vladislava Litvinova, 6-1. Taylor Calton and Jena Cheng also earned a 6-1 victory against Iryna Vardanian and Kateryna Avram. Whitney Turley, the newest member of the Utes had her chance to shine and show what she was capable of doing with Alexia Petrovic by her side. They worked together to overcome Judit Castillo and Emilija Dancetovic, also by a score of 6-1.
“[Whitney] is making the adjustment really well,” Iandolo said. “She is a very emotional, competitive player who brings a lot of energy to every match.”
In singles play that day against St. John’s, the Utes dominated the courts going 6-2. Two Utes picked up victories in two sets — Turley and Luisa Gerstner Da Rosa. Turley took down Irina Preotescu, 6-2, 6-3 and Rosa clinched the win over Zofia Stanisz, 6-3, 7-5. The Utes took over the court with wins by Petrovic, who beat Stephanie Elgegren, 6-3, 7-6 (7-4). Cheng defeated Olaya Inclan, 6-3, 4-6, 6-4. Calton claimed victory over Jaide Collins, 3-6, 6-1, 6-1. While, Victoria Robertson won Delia Arranz, 3-6, 7-6 (8-6), 6-2.
The Utes continued to show their strength and impressive performances on Sunday when they went 3-1 in doubles and they swept the singles competition. A big reason why they were able to have such success was because of their “incredible depth,” according to Iandolo.
In doubles play against host, FGCU, Pletcher and Turley teamed up for the win against Julia Ascua and Julianna Curtis, 6-1. Cheng paired up with Calton and defeated Breana Stampfli and Maja Orgberg. Petrovic joined Robertson where they beat out Sofia Perez and Laura Falceto Font. Both earned a victory of 6-3.
Where the Utes really shined was in singles play against FGCU and Northwestern State. The Utes went 7-0, and three Utes compiled two-set victories including: Rosa who defeated Sophia Blanno, 6-2, 6-0, Petrovic who picked up the win over Litvinova 6-2, 6-1, and Whitney Turley who held down Avram 6-1, 6-1.
The Utes wrapped up the invitational on Monday where they went 3-1 in doubles against St. John’s and they went 3-5 in singles play against FGCU. Turley and Pletcher once again showed great teamwork as they defeated Jessica Livianu and Anna Morozova, 6-4. Calton and Cheng earned a 6-4 victory over Elgegren and Collins. Turley and Petrovic paired up for the win against Preotescu and Inclan, 7-6 (7-4).
In singles competition, the Utes had had two players clinch two-set victories. Petrovic defeated Bridget Forster by a score of 6-0, 6-3 and Rosa took down Curtis 6-4, 6-4.
“I think we got to continue working on playing long hard points and valuing consistency and repetition,” Iandolo said.
But what this team was able to accomplish in their opening spring debut “was a step in the right direction.”
The Utes will next be in action on Feb. 4 to take on the Fresno State Bulldogs in California.