The University of Rhode Island women’s tennis team had theirÂ first dual-match victory of the spring season at St. Peter’s University last Saturday, 6-1.
Rhode Island ran the table in doubles against St. Peter’s, winning all three matches. Sophomores Taylor Holden and Anna Peacock won 8-4, seniors KathleenÂ UyÂ andÂ NithilaÂ AsokarajÂ won 9-8 (7-0) and junior ElizavetaÂ SavovnikovaÂ and sophomore Jordan Rucks won 6-2.
UyÂ andÂ Asokaraj have been major contributors to the team’s success over recent years. They won eight total doubles matches together last season.
“Kathleen andÂ NithilaÂ have become a phenomenal doubles team,” Rhode Island head coach Val Villucci said. “Their games complement each other’s and they have great communication on the court when playing together. They are an exciting team to watch. Building a doubles team takes a lot of hard work and Kathleen and Nit are right where they need to be. Strong, positive and tactically sound.”
In singles Rhode Island was victorious in five out of six matches. Holden wonÂ 6-4, 6-2, while teammateÂ UyÂ won in straight sets 6-4, 6-1. SavovnikovaÂ captured victory 6-3, 6-2 and Rucks and Asokaraj also took home wins in their matches.
“St Peter’s was a great test for us,” Villucci said. “They were an extremely competitive team and they pushed us in some of our matches. What I liked about what I saw was how our team responded on the pressure points.Â This is something I feel we have been continually working at improving. We have been talking a lot about mental toughness and what it takes to get there and how to beat teams who we are as talented as.”
The women’s tennis team will also be without the Russian junior standout GalinaÂ ChernykhÂ for the remainder of the season,Â as she has yet to play this year due to being redshirted.Â Chernykh had to stay in Russia for the fall semester because of a visa issue, originally reported by Brandon Maxwell.
“Galina will be redshirted this year,” Villucci said. “ThisÂ is a decision I made based onÂ a number of reasons,Â all of which is in everyone’s best interest.”
Rhode Island willÂ compete next SaturdayÂ against Long Island University at Tennis Rhode Island in Warwick at 7:30 p.m.
“LIU is another extremely talented team,” Villucci said. “We will need to continueÂ growing mentally tough. If we stay focused, reset when something isn’t going well and stay positive during tough stretches of the match, we can win.”