Watch Out PacWest: CUI Women's Tennis Player Wins Regional Championship
The Concordia Courier
By Samantha Schuster | 10/20/2017
On Sat., Sep. 30, senior Anastasiia Kuprina won the 2017 ITA West Regional Championships, earning herself a spot in the National Championships and showing the rest of the PacWest that the Concordia Women’s Tennis Team is a force to be reckoned with.
Kuprina prevailed in the finals where she faced fellow Eagle and freshman newcomer Ghazal Pakbaten with a score of 6-2, 6-0. “I stayed very focused and think I played really well. It’s kind of hard to play your teammate,” Kuprina said. “Usually, when I win the point I like to scream, but that’s hard to do when you’re playing against your teammate and friend. I couldn’t be as emotional as I normally am, which helps me to keep going and keep my energy up.”
Kuprina didn’t seem to have a problem with her stamina, as she didn’t drop a set throughout the entirety of the tournament. Her closest match was a 6-2, 7-5 win over Azusa Pacific’s Kara Hinton in the round of 16. Kuprina says her ability to finish her early matches quickly played a factor in her final match against Pakbaten. “My teammate had a really tough tournament, so she was pretty tired for the final,” said Kuprina. “I believe she’s much better than the score shows.”
Concordia had yet to make it past the round of 16 in the past two years of participation in the tournament, so to have not only one, but two Eagles in the finals was a big step in the right direction for the tennis program. “Two girls [from the same team] getting to the finals… That just doesn’t happen very often—in any program—so that was pretty cool,” said Coach Jonathan Sanchez.
Kuprina wasn’t the only Eagle to make history at regionals this year. “That was the best performance we’ve had at regionals collectively as a team since I’ve been here,” said Sanchez. “We had some really big wins.”
On her way to the finals, Pakbaten took out the #1 seed and last year’s champion Jensyn Warren of Stanislaus State with a score of 7-6(5), 6-4. Junior Johanna Keeline defeated UCSD’s #3 singles player Becky Chou in a tight 3-set match. Plus, junior Sam Schuster pulled out a 3-set win against the #1 singles player for Dominican University.
With the tournament win, Kuprina had the opportunity to represent the Eagles in the ITA National Championships in Georgia over mid-semester break. With an unlucky draw, Kuprina faced the #1 seed, Hanna Volikova, from the University of Indianapolis. Kuprina took last year’s runner-up to three sets and almost pulled off the upset, but in the end, fell short with a score of 6-4, 6-7(4), 6-1.
“I think I did pretty well, just got really tired in the third set,” said Kuprina. “I lost because I wasn’t prepared physically for this tournament, so that’s something I’ll be working on to prepare for the upcoming season.”
“It was my expectation that we would do well,” said Sanchez. “The way we trained before the tournament isn’t going to change too much from the way we’re going to train after the tournament because I’ve always trained [our team] believing that we were capable of beating any team in our conference.”
The official women’s tennis season will start early February and their schedule can be found at www.cuieagles.com.
About Samantha Schuster
More articles by Samantha Schuster