The East Carolina women’s tennis team will participate in the Coastal Invitational this weekend in Conway, South Carolina

This will be ECU’s fourth tournament away from Greenville since opening the season with the ECU Invitational. The two-day tournament will be at Coastal Carolina. Campbell, Coastal Carolina, ECU and UNC Greensboro will be competing in the tournament.

The Pirates are coming off the ITA Carolinas Regional in Chapel Hill this past Thursday and Friday. On Thursday, senior Michelle Castro lost in singles competition to Tayla Stenta of NC State 6-4, 7-6 (7-5). Also in singles action, Pirate freshman Lisa Hofbauer defeated Clemson’s Daniella Ruiz 6-2, 6-0.

Michelle Castro and Lisa Hofbauer also played in doubles competition, as Castro paired with freshman Nastja Rettich and Houbauer paired with sophomore Celia Ruiz. Castro and Rettich won their first match 8-2, beating a pair from Clemson. The duo couldn’t finish undefeated as they lost to South Carolina 8-6. Ruiz and Hofbauer on the other hand couldn’t get past their first opponents from NC State, suffering an 8-6 loss as well.

Ruiz was the only East Carolina player to participate on Friday, as she was defeated by Anna Rodgers of NC State 2-6, 6-2, 7-6, (7-5).

The Pirates have had some success this year not only with their older players but with their younger players as well. They have done a good job of letting their younger players compete. Houbauer has played well, and Rettich has won many matches in her early career.

The sophomore Ruiz has been a huge part of the team, not only in singles competition but in doubles as well. There are many times where a freshman and a senior have competed together in doubles, something they have had success with.

“Our freshman, we want them to play as many matches as possible,” said ECU head coach Tom Morris. “I’m more about them playing a lot of matches and getting experience and see what college tennis is like.”

Going into the Coastal Invitational, the Pirates look to improve on their game, as this is one of the last invitational tournaments of the season and they want to look as sharp as possible.

“We’re playing well, we’re playing hard. We are on the edge of beating good programs,” said Morris. “[The Coastal Invitational] is a good opportunity to see what our team is. It will give us an opportunity to see how we stand at that level.”

So far this season all of the tournaments have been individual. After this weekend and next weekend, ECU will turn to team play. At the Coastal Invitational this weekend, everybody on the team will play, marking the first time this season that’s happened.

“It’s good competition so we will see our whole team for the first time top to bottom,” said Morris.

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