DES MOINES, Iowa — The Augustana women’s tennis team kicked off a fall competition at the Drake Invite in Des Moines, Iowa last weekend. Although the team results were not kept, several Vikings had notable performances.
“This was a good tournament for us to kick off the season,” head coach Marc Kurtz said. “We only had two practice sessions this week before competing, so I was happy to see we played well against strong competition with limited practice.
“Autumn is a great opportunity for us to see where we are and what we need to work on as the year progresses.”
Coach Kurtz was especially impressed by the play of sophomores Margarita Chouliara.
“Chouliara won her flight and had an excellent tournament. In the final she played very solid and kept calm against a strong opponent.
“The first set of Chouliara’s last match lasted more than two hours and I was happy to see that she kept fighting throughout the match and especially mentally strong in difficult situations.”
The Vikings will have a break from competition before returning to action at the Creighton Invite in Omaha, Nebraska, on September 24 and 25.
“We now have time to rest and practice well before we go to Omaha in a few weeks.”
Choulaira, a sophomore, emphasized the competition from the Vikings by claiming victory in the fourth flight.
Chouliara defeated Lucia Rizza of North Dakota on Friday afternoon to win the game 6-3, 6-3. In the quarterfinals on Saturday morning, she defeated Drake’s Yana Gaskell and won 6-2, 6-2.
Later in the day, Chouliara competed in the semi-finals against South Dakota’s Anna Marija Bukina, eventually beating her 7-5, 6-4, 10-6 to give Chouliara a spot in the final of flight four.
Chouliara was challenged again in the race four championships, against North Dakota’s Nore Heinitz, but finally won the four piece race, 7-6(4), 1-6, 10-6.
Another highlight in the competition was freshmen Gabriela Jancikova earning her first collegiate win against Andrijana Brkic of the University of Northern Iowa.
In all, the Vikings took 11 victories in Division I competition against South Dakota, North Dakota, Northern Iowa, University of Nebraska, Omaha and Drake.
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