Over the weekend, the UT women's tennis team (10-4, 0-1 MAC) were defeated by the Buffalo Bulls and the Akron Zips by the same score of 5-2 in Amherst, New York. The matches were the first of the Mid-American Conference season.
"We came out with a bang in doubles today, but could not sustain it through the singles," said Tracy Mauntler, head coach. "There is a reason Buffalo is the defending MAC champs, and their experience showed today.”
Toledo struck first by claiming the doubles point. The No. 1 pairing of fourth-year Sidnay Huck and third-year Kokoro Chishaki won 6-3, and the No. 2 pairing of fourth-year Colleen O'Brien and second-year Dee Dee Leenabanchong won their 12th straight match in doubles play with a 6-1 victory.
Buffalo answered back and pulled away during the singles competition by nearly sweeping every match in two sets. Third-year Claire Aleck managed to force a tiebreak in the No. 5 spot, but ended up falling 6-3, 7-6 (3). Leenabanchong earned UT's second point of the day in the No. 2 spot. She led 7-6 (5) when her match was called.
Against Akron, UT started in a hole by losing the doubles point in a close match. O'Brien and Leenabanchong came together in the No. 2 spot and won their 13th-straight doubles match victory by beating their opponents 6-2. Senior Megan Miller and third-year Thalita Rodrigues forced a tiebreak in the No. 3 spot, but lost 7-6 (4).
"It was good to see [Chishaki] and [Rodrigues] bounce back and play tough today against Akron after rough performances against Buffalo on Friday," Mauntler said after the match. "We just didn't have our best stuff this weekend. I'm frustrated for the players because they've worked hard to get to this point. I told them that this is an obstacle and great teams keep their focus and work ethic and keep pushing forward."
The Rockets fought hard during singles competition, but could not come back. The No. 6 match finished first, with Rodrigues defeating her opponent in a clean 6-0, 6-4 two-set match. Chishaki followed behind with a 6-3, 6-2 victory in the No. 4 spot. Toledo could not keep up the momentum and fell in the remaining singles matches.
The Rockets will return to the court on Sunday, April 1 when they host Northern Illinois at 1:00 p.m. at the UT varsity tennis courts.