Section: Sports

Ladies show promise and fortitude at ITA Central Regional

The Kenyon women’s tennis team competed in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Central Regional Championships this past weekend in Kalamazoo, Mich. The event featured a singles bracket consisting of 128 competitors and a doubles bracket containing 64 teams from 22 different schools.

The Ladies were looking to build on their performance in last year’s Championships, in which the Ladies doubles team combined for a 12-4 record.

In particular, three Ladies found significant success in the singles bracket: Annie Reiner ’19, Erika Oku ’21 and Anna Winslow ’22.

Reiner dominated her first match, defeating Millikin University’s Shelby Jones (6-0, 6-0). She continued on in her next match against University of Chicago’s Lauren Park, but Park could not finish the match due to an injury suffered in the first set. Reiner eventually advanced to the round of 16, before falling to by the fourth overall seed, Amanda Bandrowski from Hope College.

Oku, who went into the tournament with sole possession of the seventh seed, cruised through her competition in the first three rounds, only dropping four games in total, and winning a set 6-0 in each of her victories. However, like Reiner, Oku would fall in the round of 16 to a player from Hope College, first year Claire Hallock.

Winslow, like her teammates Reiner and Oku, also advanced to the round of 16. Winslow won her first three matches without dropping more than three games in a set, winning the matches 6-3, 6-1 and 6-0, 6-2, and (6-2, 6-1) respectively.

“Our biggest strength would have to be our overall attitude on and off the court,” Winslow said. “We are constantly pushing each other to fight for every point and are really supportive of one another.”  Winslow eventually fell to the second overall seed, sophomore Majorie Antohi from University of Chicago.

In the doubles section of the tournament, two Kenyon teams advanced to the quarterfinals, while one team won the consolation bracket. The matches were played in eight game pro sets. Reiner and Ceylan Can ’21 teamed up, winning their first three matches with scores of 8-0, 9-7, 8-6. The team of Oku and Maggie Sweeney ’19 also won their first three doubles matches, 8-2, 8-2, 8-5.

Daria Beshentseva ’22 and Ilana Blackwood ’21 would go on to win the consolation doubles bracket, defeating a team from DePauw (9-7) in a heated contest.

This championship marked the conclusion of the Ladies’ fall season. Oku and Sweeney are both coming off an extremely impressive 2017 campaigns. Oku was named to the All-NCAC First Team as a first year and won the NCAC Newcomer of the Year Award as well. In addition, Sweeney was named to the All-NCAC Second Team for the second straight year. After a successful first couple of tournaments, the team knows where they can improve and where their strengths lie.

“Each of us all have our own strengths and weaknesses, so we work on those individually,” Winslow said, “but having support from teammates motivates us a lot to keep improving. We have a really strong group of girls and think we can make a big impact this spring as long as we stay positive and work hard.”

The Ladies will play their first two games of the spring season against the University of Northwest Ohio and Centre College in February 2019.

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