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September 21, 2023

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Tennis team rounds out fall season in seperate matches

The BG women’s tennis team concluded its fall season this past weekend as selected members traveled to Ann Arbor, Mich., to participate in the Wilson/ITA Midwest Regional Championships, while the remaining members traveled to Muncie, Ind., to compete in the Ball State Fall Invitational.

Kelsey Jakupcin and Christine Chiricosta split their singles matches on Thursday at the ITA Championships hosted by the University of Michigan. Both players lost in the second round after winning their opening-round matches.

Jakupcin beat Marquette’s Christina Ruiz with a come-from-behind victory. She won the second and third sets on tiebreakers, 7-6 (3), 7-6 (4), respectively, after losing the first set, 4-6. Illinois’ Kristina Minor would eventually beat Jakupcin in the second-round.

“I didn’t give up or anything,” Jakupcin said regarding her come-from-behind victory. “I just really worked hard and it’s probably the best match I’ve played in college so far.”

Chiricosta defeated UW-Milwaukee’s Kelly Drvaric in straight sets, 6-1, 6-3, before having to retire in the second-round because of a pulled groin muscle.

“I give [Christine] a ton of credit because the [pulled groin muscle] happened at the beginning of her first match,” Coach Penny Dean said. “She was gutsy, finished the match and beat [Ruiz]”

“It was disappointing because I think [Christine] would’ve done well and it would’ve been a good finish to the fall season,” Dean said.

Jakupcin, along with doubles partner Jenna Nussbaum, competed in the main draw of the ITA Championships on Friday.

The duo lost to Wisconsin’s Mirnova and Nusslock in first-round play, 8-5.

“It was a really good match,” Jakupcin said. “We went out on a high to end the fall season. We are really happy with how we played together and it was just a really fun weekend.”

Playing teams from the Big Ten and other major conferences will help prepare the team for Mid-American Conference play because every single match in conference play is tough, Jakupcin said.

With Jakupcin, Chiricosta and Nussbaum all competing in Ann Arbor, Mich., the remaining members were roughly 230 miles away participating in the three-day, three-team Ball State Fall Invitational. BG faced Ball State and Western Michigan at the event.

For the weekend, the Falcons posted an overall record of 10-12, going 7-8 in singles and 3-4 in doubles play.

The BG doubles teams were in action Friday night and posted a 2-1 record.

The duo of sophomore Sam Kintzel and WMU’s Yuka Kobayashi defeated BSU’s Rutter and Surowiec, 8-6, while the duo of junior Stefanie Menoff and sophomore Katia Babina defeated BSU’s Pollack and Hall, 8-4.

Kintzel and Babina competed in singles flight A action on Saturday.

Babina faced two BSU opponents including a 6-1, 6-2, victory in her second match. Kintzel lost two matches to WMU opponents.

Senior Andrea Volle, junior Libby Harrison and Menoff split their matches in singles flight B action. Menoff lost a heartbreaking first match, 7-5, 7-5, to WMU’s Dudzik before winning her second match 6-1, 6-0. All three players defeated opponents from BSU.

The Falcons’ doubles teams went winless on Saturday, going 0-3.

BG concluded the tournament on Sunday, winning three singles matches and one doubles match.

Volle lost only one game in her 6-0, 6-1, victory over BSU’s Surowiec. Kintzel and Menoff also won their matches over BSU foes.

The doubles team of Volle and Harrison shutout BSU’s Thomson and Rist, 8-0, for the lone doubles win.

“[Our team’s play] was up-and-down and it was windy, but at least we got in a lot of competition,” Coach Dean said regarding the tournament.

BG still needs to work on a few things before conference play begins in January.

“Consistency of performance, mental preparation and patience are all areas we need to work on,” Dean said.

The Falcons will enjoy an off-season of conditioning and weight lifting before their spring season begins in January.

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