The women’s tennis team participated in the 2023 ITA Division III Women’s Southwest Regional Championship held at Hardon-Simmons University Sept. 21 to Sept. 24, losing during their singles and doubles semifinal matches.
The tournament marked the end of the short fall season as they set the rankings for the main season in spring. As five-time champions of the American Southwest Conference, neuroscience senior Rebecca Jackson said the results of practices and tournaments show that the team is just as strong and competitive as past years.
“This was the best ITA I have played in college, so it was a nice tournament to have my last fall season end on,” Jackson said. “I am really looking forward to developing the team as a whole and learning how to compete with each other.”
Jackson and her partner, ITS junior Saumya Vedula, made it to the semifinals for doubles and lost 8–3. Jackson also played in the semifinals for singles and lost 6–2, 6–1. Biology junior Tisha Nakakes-Nguyen also made it to consolation semifinals and lost 6–1,6–2.
“I believe Rebecca and I competed really well in doubles and making it to the semifinals was beyond anything we could wish for,” Vedula said. “We played a tough team in the semifinals, but we competed well so I’m proud of us.”
The tennis team had three new freshmen join this year. While the first week was spent establishing the new team dynamic, the rest of the practices were concentrated on getting everyone’s skills developed and ready for the short season.
“Practices in the fall are more focused right off the bat because we know we only have a couple weeks until our big competition,” Jackson said. “It’s fun to get to know everybody but after that, we really hone [our skills] and ramp up the intensity. By the time the tournament got there, we’re ready to compete.”
Aside from tennis, the team also meets to form study groups, help underclassmen pick classes and teach new players how to balance traveling with studies. They have grown closer and Vedula said that playing together helps them hold each other accountable and support one another on and off the court.
“I’m very excited for the spring because it’s our main season and it’s team season,” Vedula said. “There’s a lot more fire in us to win conference again [in spring] for the sixth time, and it’ll be an exciting season for sure. We hope to see more fans out there watching us.”