Michelle Ncube

Sophomore tennis player Michelle Ncube.

The East Carolina University women’s tennis team split up this past weekend to compete in both the ITA Carolina Regionals in Winston-Salem, North Carolina and the North Carolina Central University Invitational in Durham, North Carolina.

At the ITA Carolina Regionals senior tennis player Nastja Rettich and freshman tennis player Sibel Tanik both won their first two singles matches. Rettich then went on to win against University of North Carolina at Wilmington (5-7, 7-5, 6-1) in the round of 64 before falling to Wake Forest University (6-3, 6-1) in the round of 32. Tanik lost her match in the round of 64 against Appalachian State University (7-6 (4), 4-6, 6-1), then went on to lose in the consolation round of 32 as well (6-4, 6-4).

Despite being placed in the B1 draw at the beginning of the weekend, sophomore tennis player Michelle Ncube went undefeated in singles at the ITA. She defeated opponents from Western Carolina University (6-3, 6-0), Elon University (6-0, 6-2) and North Carolina State University (6-3, 6-4) in order to reach the semifinals.

Ncube competed against App State junior tennis player Maria Zacharias in the semi-finals where despite dropping her first set of the tournament won 6-4, 4-6, 6-3. In the finals Ncube faced Wofford College’s sophomore tennis player Elizabeth Massie. Ncube dropped her first set but came back to win her second and third matches needed to win the final for her draw (3-6, 6-4, 7-5).

"I thought it was a good weekend for us," head coach Tom Morris said in a press release. "We played very well at the regionals in singles and had some tough draws in doubles.”

In doubles at ITA Ncube and Rettich won their first match against Elon (8-3) before falling in the second round to Wake Forest (6-8). Senior tennis player Lisa Hofbauer and Tanik lost in their first round against Wake Forest (3-8).

In Durham, the rest of the team competed in the NCCU Invitational. Freshman tennis player Hanna Axelsson defeated UNCW (6-2, 6-0) and Davidson College (6-1, 6-1) to make it to her flight final. In the final, Axelsson faced Davidson again, this time against freshman tennis player Emma Heiderscheit. Despite a hard fought battle, Axelsson lost the first and third sets finishing her run (6-3, 0-6, 7-5).

“At NC Central, we had two players advance to finals in their flights. We saw again some things that we need to work on in individual singles and in doubles. Overall, it was a very good weekend for our program." Morris said in a press release.

Sophomore tennis player Minette Van Vreden and junior tennis player Ho Chiao Hsia also went 1-1 in singles play. Hsia defeated her quarterfinals opponent from Davidson 6-3, 6-4 then went on to fall to UNCW (6-4, 6-0) in the semifinals.

The duo of Van Vreden and Axelsson went 1-1 in doubles, defeating UNCW in their first match 6-3 then being defeated by Davidson in the semifinals 6-1. Junior tennis player Victoria Dixon and Hsia also went 1-1 in doubles competition, defeating North Carolina Central University 6-3 in their first match. They then went on to lose to UNCW 6-4 in their semifinals match.

The Pirates will finish up their fall schedule at home for the ECU Invitational. Play is scheduled to begin on Nov. 8 at the River Birch Tennis Complex.

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