WEST POINT, N.Y. - Over thirty teams descended upon West Point this weekend for the Eastern Women's Tennis Championships and host Army turned in a strong showing with eight players alive in the main singles and doubles draw with another advancing in singles consolation.
Junior Anne Houghton, who was runner-up at No. 1 singles at last year's Easterns, started off the tournament with a bye as the No. 1 seed. The Sewickley, Pa., native outlasted Siena's Jasleen Sandhu, 6-4, 6-4, to advance to Saturday's quarterfinals where she will face Long Island's Selma Babic.
Freshman Erin Colton, seeded sixth in the No. 2 singles flight, dispatched Fairfield's Paulina Rys, 6-3, 6-1 in her first match of the tournament but her second round against third-seeded Rachel Canton of Quinnipiac was among several outdoor matches at Malek Courts called because of darkness. Those matches will pick up where they left off Saturday morning .
Army's largest contingent was at the No. 3 singles draw where four Black Knights competed with fourth-seed Annie Hang and fifth-seed Jessica Ahn setting the pace by picking up straight set opening round wins. Hang defeated Mellissa Ferry of Providence, 6-2, 6-3, but was outlasted by Cornell's Kristen Kohagen, 3-6, 6-1, 10-3 in the second round.
Ahn rode to a pair of one-sided 6-0, 6-1 victories over Quinnipiac's Lisanne Steinert and Sacred Heart's Julianne Kasinow to stay alive in the main draw where she takes on third-seed Julian Prantl of FDU in Saturday's quarterfinals.
Senior Paige Ford pulled out a hard-fought 3-6, 7-5, 10-5 win over Cornell's Leah Seyburn in the second round of her fourth singles flight to advance to the quarter-final round where she faces Binghamton's Baska Gone Saturday. Ford romped to a 6-1 opening set win over Middlebury's Anna Burke, but had to scramble in the second (6-4) to complete the straight set decision.
Freshman Kari Pope suffered a 6-1, 6-1 first-round loss at the No. 4 draw to fifth-seeded Natalie Ducker of Quinnipiac, but bounced back with an impressive 8-2 pro set win over Middlebury's Alyssa Punchinello in the consolation bracket.
Army enjoyed success in doubles play with two of the three teams advancing to the quarterfinals after opening with a first-round bye as the third seed in the first and second flights. Michael Tollerton and Robie Verano did not yield a point in romping to an 8-0 victory over Fairfield's Gretchen Amber and Nikki Jackson at the first flight to advance in the main draw to the quarterfinals where they take on the Duquesne duo of Erin Conroy and Megan O'Sullivan.
The duo of Kristin Beehler and Audrey Hansen were just as dominant at second flight in doubles as they combined their talents to defeat Colgate's Alexi Abernant and Stephanie Bender, 8-2. They face the Syracuse team of Tori Ford and Jacquelyn in Saturday's quarterfinals.
Newcomer Larraine Saavedra and junior Jurelle Mendoza fell in their first two matches at flight four singles. Mendoza suffered a 6-2, 6-2 defeat to St. John's Ece Firat followed by a tough 8-6 loss to Binghamton's Emme Leibowicz in the consolation bracket. Saavedra lost 6-3, 6-3 to Rhode Island's Tristany Leikem in her first match followed by an 8-2 loss to St. Bonaventure's Amanda Pallikunnel.
The second flight doubles tandem of Maria Casaletto and Patty Vollmer outlasted the team from Massachusetts, 8-6, but then suffered an 8-2 defeat against second seed Cornell in the second round.
It is the 11th straight year that Army is host of the tournament. Second day competition begins at 9 a.m. with the main draw of singles being played at Malek Courts and doubles at Litchenberg Tennis Center.
1st Singles Main
(1) Anne Houghton (Army) def. Hillary Hansen (Niagara), 6-3, 6-3
2nd Singles Main
(3) Erin Colton (Army) def. Paulina Rys (Fairfield), 6-3, 6-1
3rd Singles Main
Jessica Ahn (Army) def. Lisanne Steinert (Quinnipiac), 6-0, 6-1
Jessica Ahn (Army) def. Julianne Kasinow (Sacred Heart), 6-0, 6-1
Annie Hang (A) def. Mellissa Ferry (Providence), 6-2, 6-3
Demi Iepuras (Bucknell) def. Annie Hang, 6-4, 6-1
Ece Firat (St. John's) def. Jurelle Mendoza (Army), 6-2, 6-2
Tristany Leikem (Rhode Island) def. Larraine Saavedra (Army), 6-3, 6-3
3rd Singles Consolation
Emme Leibowicz (Binghamton) def. Jurelle Mendoza (Army), 8-6
Amanda Pallikunnel (St. Bonaventure) def. Larraine Saavedra (Army), 8-2
4th Singles Main
(7) Paige Ford (Army) def. Anna Burke (Middlebury), 6-1, 6-4
(7) Paige Ford (Army) def. Leah Seybum (Cornell), 3-6, 7-5, 10-5
(5) Natalie Duckor (Quinnipiac) def. Kari Pope (Army), 6-1, 6-1
Fanny Aizier (NJIT) wins on default over Holly Pappafotis (Army) WD (Inj)
4th Singes Consolation
Kari Pope (Army) def. Alyssa Puccinelli (Middlebury), 8-2
1st Doubles Main
(3) Michael Tollerton/Robie Verano (Army) bye
(3) Michael Tollerton/Robie Verano (Army) def. Gretchen Amberg/Nikki Jackon (Fairfield), 8-0
2nd Doubles Main
(3) Kristin Beehler/Audrey Hansen (Army), bye
(3) Kristin Beehler/Audrey Hansen (Army) def. Alexi Abernant/Stephanie Bender (Colgate), 8-2
Maria Casaletto/Patty Vollmer (Army) def. Tanisha Hodgson/Jocelyn Providence (UMass), 8-6
(2) Geraldine Leong/Lim Kristen (Cornell) def. Maria Casaletto/Patty Vollmer (Army), 8-2