The University of Rhode Island women’s tennis team participated in the Brown Invitational in Providence last weekend, led by the play of sophomore Taylor Holden, junior Elizaveta Sadovnikova and senior Nithila Asokaraj.
The three each accumulated two wins in singles play in Providence with a 7-9 overall record for the team. The final win came from senior Kathleen Uy against Southwest Baptist University.
Winning the back draw of her singles competition, Holden defeated opponents from the University of Massachusetts and Providence College. Asokaraj also won her back two over PC and Rutgers while Sadovinkova defeated players from PC and UMass as well in her first and third set.
“We’re a little shorthanded right now so my expectations are just trying to get matches under our belts,” Rhode Island head coach Val Villucci said. “Without three players in our lineup right now, we did quite well.”
Hampered by a couple of injuries and star junior Galina Chernykh having to stay in her home country of Russia for the semester because of a visa issue, the team has had to change its game plan to accommodate the differences. While players get better from nagging injuries, mononucleosis and visa corrections, Coach Villuci said she expects the team to continue to improve and garner experience as the season progresses.
“It serves a purpose, it gives us a benchmark to see where we need to go, but our performance was good,” she said. “We need to work on doubles. That’s definitely something that stood out for us.”
With just the Stony Brook Invitational and Brown Invitational as a sample size so far, Villucci said she was impressed with Holden in particular and how she has developed over the last year.
“Taylor played exceptionally well. I have to say, she looks very good this year,” Villucci said. “She’s improved a lot since the beginning of last year and it’s encouraging to see.”
Now that the Brown Invitational is over and the URI Doubles Invitational is a little less than three weeks away, the Rams will have plenty of time to recover from injuries and Villucci hopes her players will be ready.
In the case of Chernykh, things are a bit more complicated. Though she will be absent for the rest of the semester, Villucci said that she fully expects Chernykh to be back and ready to play for the start of the spring semester.
Chernykh held the best record in singles play last season at 11-5 and had a 20-7 posting overall counting non-dual and other matches.
“She just had some visa issues,” Villucci said. “There’s nothing we can really do about it. We just have to wait for all that paperwork to get finished before she can come back to the states.”
The Rams will be competing in the URI Doubles Invitational on Saturday, Oct. 11. Rhode Island will then travel to Monmouth University for a meet the following day.