Men?s, women?s teams display talent in weekend tournaments

By Rinna Waddhany , Staff Writer

Both the men’s and women’s tennis teams were in action this weekend. Men’s tennis hosted the Utah Invitational Thursday through Saturday at the Liberty Park Tennis Center, and women’s tennis competed in the ITA Mountain Region Championships in Las Vegas from Wednesday to Sunday.

After the first day of competition at the Utah Invitational in Salt Lake City, Utah juniors Phillip Eilers and Stephen Jacobs advanced to the quarterfinal round in the main draw singles. No. 1-seeded Eilers defeated Michael Eraso of BYU 6-1, 7-6 (3) in the first round, then beat Weber State’s Ricardo Campos 6-4, 6-2 in the round of 16.

Jacobs, like Eilers, faced challenges from Weber State and BYU in the first two rounds as well. Jacobs defeated David Hintze of Weber State 7-5, 6-2 before taking down BYU’s Cassidy Mears in three sets, 6-2, 2-6, 6-3.

Eilers went on to top BYU’s Roman Warias 6-2, 6-1 in the quarterfinals but fell to another BYU opponent, Spencer Smith, in the semifinals 6-4, 4-6, 6-3. Jacobs lost his quarterfinal match against No. 2-seed Thomas Shubert of BYU, 7-5, 6-4.

“It was the first opportunity to see how everyone competes,” Jacobs said. “To show off matches on our own courts, and overall, we did well.”

In the consolation draw, Eilers and freshman Alex Golding claimed the doubles title, defeating Hintze and Cole Paterson of Weber State 8-4 in the finals. Utah’s freshman Dmytro Mamedov also advanced to the finals in the consolation singles draw, but dropped the first and third sets in the loss to Henning Hipp of WSU, 4-6, 6-4, 10-8.

The Utah Invitational and the upcoming ITA Mountain Regional Championships are chances for players to work toward a good national ranking. Although team competition doesn’t officially start until January, head coach F.D. Robbins said these tournaments give the coaches a good indication of the lineup come January.

“We have a lot of work to do,” Robbins said. “We have a young and talented squad, but we need to work really hard and teach our guys to learn how to win matches.”

Robbins also said the team has been doing well in practices, but playing a lot of matches will provide good lessons as they progress through the season. Next week, the men’s team will head to Vegas to compete at the ITA Mountain Regional Championships.

The women’s team spent the past weekend at the same tournament.

Utah’s sophomore Anastasia Putilina advanced to the quarterfinals before losing to No. 1-seed Pichittra Thongdach of Boise State 6-4, 6-1. Putilina, the No. 6-seed in the ITA Regional, received a bye in the first round and recorded three match wins in the competitions. She defeated Northern Arizona’s Yumi Hasegawa 7-5, 7-5 in the second round, Montana’s Rebecca Bran 6-2, 6-2 in the round of 32 and Wyoming’s Sarah Summerfield 6-0, 6-4 in the round of 16.

Putilina also teamed up with freshman Paige Miles in the doubles, but they suffered a tough 9-8 (1) loss to Jana Albers and Kristina Nedeltcheva in the round of 32. Miles competed in the main singles draw as well and made a run to the round 32, losing to the No. 1-seed Thongdach 6-4, 6-1.

Head coach Mat Iandolo and assistant coach Ruth Ann Allen talked to the team about confidence and its ability to match up against the top teams in the region, such as UNLV, Boise State and BYU.

“This was a good motivation for us to come home and work harder,” Miles said. “There were top schools there, and we did well against them.”

The ITA Mountain Regional marked the final fall competition for women’s tennis. They will compete in the Virginia Invitational in January. In between, there is an open tournament in November where alumni and players can take part in friendly competition.

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