Tennis hosts national indoor tournament in new facility

UNK+tennis+players+compete+at+the+ITA+Division+II+National+Womens+Indoor+Championships.+Photo+by+Traeton+Harimon

UNK tennis players compete at the ITA Division II National Women’s Indoor Championships. Photo by Traeton Harimon

TRAETON HARIMON

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The Lopers played host to the ITA Division II National Women’s Indoor Championships at the Ernest Grundy Tennis Center, where they were unable to record a win in their three matchups over the weekend. 

UNK faced off against five-time defending national champions Barry University Friday and UIndy Saturday, dropping both contests before taking on the Bronchos of Central Oklahoma Sunday morning in the seventh-place matchup, losing a down-to-the-wire contest, 4-3.

Despite going 0-3 on the weekend, the Lopers were just happy to have the opportunity.

“It is a very prestigious event and obviously it brings all this talent here which is great for my team,” said UNK coach Scott Shafer. “Having this here has just been absolutely wonderful and I’m already excited to host it again next year.”

On Sunday the Lopers would lose the doubles point to Central Oklahoma after the Bronchos won the two and three matchups. 

In singles action, UNK’s Melisa Becerra, Jazmin Zamorano and Masha Hatouka all won their matchups to bring the score to 3-3 with one singles match remaining. 

Loper Narindra Ranaivo would have to win her singles match against Central Oklahoma’s Nefeli Zafeiri to give UNK the victory. 

Ranaivo would win the first set of the match before coming out to a 4-2 lead in the second set. Zafeiri would rally back, taking the second set 6-4 and eventually taking the matchup by winning the third set 6-3, giving the Bronchos the 4-3 win.

A loss that serves as a wake-up call for the Lopers.

“We’re going to have to get better at doubles because we’re just going to have to,” Shafer said. “We think we’re good at doubles, but the girls need to learn to take more risks at the appropriate time instead of just hoping for the other team to play poorly.”

UNK would finish last in the field of eight and Barry University would capture their sixth championship, sweeping Saint Leo University, 4-0.

The Ernest Grundy Tennis Center will host the ITA Division II National Women’s Indoor Championship again in 2024 from Feb. 23-25.

The Lopers will be back in action March 9-10 against MIAA foes Northwest Missouri State and Washburn. UNK will then head to Florida over spring break for their “Spring Break Trip,” where they will face off against Rollins College, Palm Beach Atlantic and Florida Southern.