GRAND CANYON AND CHICAGO STATE REPRESENT ATHLETE OF THE WEEK HONORS
Chicago State's George Botha and Grand Canyon's Emilia Occhipinti, Grand Canyon doubles team Lorenzo Fucile and Mathieu Rajaonah and doubles team Emilia Occhipinti and Celina Buhr have been named the Men's and Women's Western Athletic Conference Tennis Athletes of the Week, respectively, for January 22-28.
Botha, a senior from Cradock, South Africa, went 3-0 over the weekend helping the Cougars to wins over University of Illinois-Chicago and St. Francis University. He picked up the only point for CSU in their loss to Wright State. Botha won the match-tying set for Chicago State as they fought back from a 3-0 deficit against UIC to win the match 4-3.
Occhipinti, a junior from Ragusa, Italy, defeated opponents from Southern Utah (5-7, 6-4, 6-2) and Nevada (6-2, 6-2) to go 2-0 on the weekend. She helped the Lopes to a 5-2 win over Southern Utah. Occhipinti moves to 3-1 on the season in singles play.
Fucile, a junior from Messina, Italy, and Rajaonah, a senior from Marseille, France, kept their perfect doubles record intact picking up two more wins and moving to 4-0 on the season. The pair defeated opponents from Florida Gulf Coast and Sacramento State 6-4.
Occhipinti and Buhr, a junior from Hamburg, Germany, were the only doubles team from GCU to go 2-0 over the weekend. They picked up a controlling win over Southern Utah, 6-2, followed by a 6-4 win over Nevada.
Other male singles nominees: Lorenzo Fucile of Grand Canyon won twice against Florida Gulf Coast and Sacramento State to move to 3-1 on the season… NM State's Enrique Asmar opened his season with a pair of dominating wins over Mesa CC and Western New Mexico… Samuel de Felipe Garcia of UT Rio Grande Valley finished the week 1-1 earning a victory against Prairie View A&M.
Other female singles nominees: Kansas City's Thanushree Vale won 6-3, 5-7, 6-3 against an opponent from Bradley to clinch the win for the Roos… Lindsay Harlas of NM State posted a controlling win, 6-1, 6-1, over Western New Mexico… Seattle U's Alisa Sabotic competed in the Redhawks' first match of the season against Washington.
Other male doubles nominees: NM State's Stijn de Haan and Mauri Benitez won easily over pairs from Mesa CC and Western New Mexico… Yehonatan Kaufman and George Hutchings of UT Rio Grande Valley finished the weekend 1-0 defeating Prairie View A&M 6-2.
Other female doubles nominees: Grace Ball and Thea Dassy of Kansas City kicked off their year going 1-1 with a win over Bradley… NM State's Rebecca Keijzerwaard and Yadira Rubio defeated a Western New Mexico duo 6-0.
THIS WEEK IN WAC WOMEN'S TENNIS
The Cougars were swept twice by Wright State and Western Michigan.
GCU opened their week with a 5-2 win over Southern Utah. They started the match in the lead after winning the doubles point. The Lopes snagged an early 2-0 lead thanks to a Celia Morel victory but Southern Utah responded winning two of their own and tying it at two all. Celina Buhr answered with a win in singles followed by Emilia Occhipinti. Autum Prudhomme then sealed the victory with a three set win. Grand Canyon lost their next match 3-4 to Nevada. GCU lost the doubles fight with Occhipinti and Buhr earning the only doubles win. In singles, Occhipinti, Morel and Martina Lo Pumo were the three Lopes to earn points for GCU on the day.
The Roos claimed a split in opening week of play defeating Bradley but losing to Illinois State. UMKC jumped to a lead after claiming the doubles point over Bradley. Singles were a fight as Kansas City and Bradley claimed three wins each. Thanushree Vale won the clinching match 6-3, 5-7,6,3 from the No. 5 spot. She was joined by wins from Yana Grechkina and Grace Ball in singles. Kansas City was swept, 4-0, the following day by Illinois State.
NM State snagged one win, 6-1, over Western New Mexico. They started the day with a clean sweep in doubles to take the quick lead. Gavi Kalaga and Hasha Challa finished off their opponents quickly to continue the dominace. Yadira Rubio clinched the match with a 6-1, 6-0 victory. Chloe Gavino picked up the additional win on court four.
Seattle U was swept 0-7 in their season opener to Washington.
2019 WAC TOURNAMENT The 2019 WAC Men's and Women's Tennis Tournaments will be hosted by UT Rio Grande Valley on April 26-28 in Brownsville, Texas. All six teams will compete in the Tournament as the first round will be No. 4 seed against No. 5 seed and No. 3 seed takes on No. 6 seed. No. 1 and No. 2 seeds earn a ticket straight to the semifinals. The winner of the tournament will earn an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament as the WAC representative. The reigning tournament champion is NM State as they defeated NM State 4-0 in the Championship match last year.
The 2019 Tennis National Championships will take place in Orlando, Fla. at the USTA National Campus Collegiate Center on May 16-25.