Written by Aldean Starr, Staff Writer
The Valdosta State Tennis Team is gearing up for the season that is set to start in the spring. The team had a good showing at the annual USTA/ITA South Region Championship on Sept. 25-28 in Pensacola, Fl. and the men and women’s team had a great showing. The women’s team landed two of their players in the top eight of the tournament and one of the players off the men’s team made it into the semifinals of the tournament.
One of the women off of the tennis team who made it to the top eight is last year’s All-American Bea Morales Hernandez. The sophomore did an amazing job in her singles performance as she received a bye in the first round and defeated Nova Southeastern’s Irina Constantinide in the second round 11-9 in their third set. Morales Hernandez’s run ended in her quarterfinal matchup against Diana Bogoli where she ended up losing in the third set 11-9.
Junior Laura Ubeda also ended up in the top eight of the tournament as she defeated a couple opponents to earn her spot. Ubeda is coming off a year of no action because of shoulder surgery but she came out strong in her return. She defeated her opponent Chloe Chanley in the first round in a dominant two sets and did the same in her second round matchup against Anastassia Rubel. She later fell to the No. 1 seed Sonja Larsen in her quarterfinal matchup.
The men’s team also faired great in the tournament as Senior Joachim Schemm was able to pull off an impressive first round win against Jose Pirifio but later lost to the No. 7 seed Nicholas Uryson in a close contest. Schemm gave much credit to his coaches by thanking his head coach for giving him the chance to participate and stated how new assistant coach Governor Henderson gave him confidence by telling him to “Just play free and enjoy yourself on the court,” and the coaches had them well prepared for the event.
Sophomore Leo Blay also had an amazing tournament by making it to the semifinals. Blay was one spot off from being an all-American last year and looked very promising after a great tournament in which he defeated two opponents in very thrilling matchups that were close. In the final four he fell to the No. 2 seeded player Anton Bettink, their matchup ended in a tiebreaker 7-3. Blay gave his success to the team and coaches by stating “preparation and there is a very good atmosphere between us so we cheer for each other and that gives us motivation to succeed on the court.”
The team does not have another tournament before the season starting in February but so far the team has had great performances and looks to carry that into the upcoming season.