The Sonoma State University women’s tennis team hosted their second, annual Fall Invitational this past weekend. The teams from Dominican University, Academy of Art and Holy Names travelled to Rohnert Park to play against each other in the singles and doubles tournaments at the SSU tennis courts.
In singles play, there were standout performances from junior Jacquelyn Ward, sophomore Kaitlyn Haithcock and freshman Julie Rea.
After getting a first round bye, Ward went on to win her next two matches against Holy Names competitors Amaru Hernandez (6-2, 6-3) and Lexi Bevins (6-2, 6-3). Rea did the same against her Dominican opponents in three matches, beating Allie Rosa by walkover, Frankie Katafias (6-2, 6-1) and Kelly Zwicker (4-6, 6-0, 10-5). After two stellar matches, both Ward and Rea made it to the championship round in Pool B but would not play each other.
Haithcock, playing in Pool A, won her first match against Holy Names’ Taylor Barajas (6-2, 6-1) and went on to play Mariel Bautista from Holy Names. The match would be the only one Haithcock would play that would make it to a third set and she would have to make some adjustments before securing the victory.
“She liked to play a lot of high balls and I am not like that,” said Haithcock. “I am a very fast player.”
After splitting the first two sets by scores of 4-6 and 6-4, the stands began to fill with her teammates and fans who were hungry for a victory. When she eventually won the final set 10-7, the cheering from the crowd echoed across all 12 courts.
“I don’t think I could have won without the constant cheering,” said Haithcock after the match. “When there is a bad point and you are getting down on yourself, you hear your teammates, you hear your family… it gives you that much more energy.”
After losing her next two matches to Academy of Art’s Lucy Zavarcikova (6-1, 6-1) and Nina Gajdosikova by walkover, she ended the weekend in fourth place in her pool.
Sophomore Jordyn Kearney ended the weekend in fifth place after splitting her four matches, beating Dominican’s Gianna Cupo (6-2, 6-1), losing to Lucy Zavarcikova (6-4, 6-0) from Academy of Art, winning against Bautista (6-2, 4-6, 10-6), and losing in the final round against Academy of Art’s Jenny Johansson (4-6, 6-3, 9-11).
Other Seawolf singles players who competed this weekend included sophomores Karlee Budge and Lia Quilty, freshman Mariann Bukich and junior Janie Anderson. Budge, who came in seventh place by the end of the weekend, won two out of her four matches. Bukich won one out of three matches. Quilty and Anderson both ended the weekend without a win.
It was a successful weekend for the Seawolves’ doubles teams, with two out of the four pairs making it to the championship round for their respective pools.
Bukich and Budge paired up to take on Holy Names’ Maria Seaver and Rosa and eventually beat them by a score of 8-0. After a win over their second Holy Names’ pair, Bautista-Barajas (8-6), the two players headed to the championship round to take on Academy of Art’s Johansson and Kurczbuch. However, the pair couldn’t play in the final match, so the victory went to Bukich and Budge by walkover.
The Haithcock-Kearney pair would also make it to the championship match after beating Dominican’s Vicari-Karslen team 8-3. However, the Seawolves lost in their final game to the Torres-Cupo pair from Dominican by a score of 8-2.
The pairs Anderson-Quilty and Rea-Ward both lost their first matches in doubles play against Holy Names’ Bautista-Barajas (8-1) and Dominican’s Torres-Cupo (8-4), respectively. These losses moved both teams to the consolation brackets where Anderson-Quilty would get the victory over Academy of Art’s Seaver-Flanagan team (8-6) but lose against Holy Names’ Bevins and Hernandez (8-5).
The Rea-Ward team concluded the weekend for the Seawolves with a lost in their final match by a score of 8-3 against Smitchback-Vieria, also from Holy Names.
This was the Seawolves second year hosting their Fall Invitationals and Bukich believes that playing on their own courts worked into the Seawolves’ favor.
“We are used to the speed, the everything of these courts,” said Bukich. “There is for sure an advantage when playing at home.”
Assistant Coach Sara Celma said that other advantages to playing at home include choosing the best courts for the players and having more fans there to support the girls.
However, the Seawolves won’t have these advantages this weekend because they are travelling to Turlock, where they will be competing in the Warrior Invitational, hosted by Cal State Stanislaus. The matches begin Saturday and conclude the following day.