Panthers sweep weekend road trip

Reinaldo Llerena/ Staff Writer

The FIU women’s tennis team swept Stetson University and Bethune-Cookman University the weekend of Feb. 6-7 at the Mandy Stoll Tennis Center in DeLand and rebounded from a frustrating home opener.

The Panthers (3-1) dominated throughout the weekend, sweeping both opponents, 7-0, and did not lose a match. The dominating weekend started when the Panthers played the Stetson Hatters (1-2) on Saturday, Feb. 6.

After the home opener, junior Nina Nagode said the team needed to play more aggressive in doubles and not come out as tired as they did versus Troy.

In the match against the Hatters, the Panthers won all three doubles matches to claim the first point of the match. Senior Carlotta Orlando and redshirt-freshman Andrea Lazaro defeated Arijana Korac and Carolina Meregalli, 6-1. Freshman Maryna Veksler and Nagode defeated Eveline Lepinay and Maja Salibasic, 6-2, to clinch the doubles point. Senior Kaitlin Brozovich and sophomore Nerma Caluk defeated Alexe Viaud and Alexandra Lyubimova, 6-3, to complete the doubles sweep.

Heading into singles play, the Panthers were up on the Hatters, 1-0, after the doubles sweep. Lazaro added another point for the Panthers when she dominated Lyumbimova, 6-0, 6-0, and Orlando put the Panthers up, 3-0, when she defeated Korac in straight sets, 6-3, 6-0. Nagode clinched the match for the Panthers with her 13th win of the season, defeating Salibasic, 6-1, 6-3.

The Panthers continued to dominate the match, winning the next three singles matches to shutout the Hatters, 7-0. Brozovich defeated Brittany Hill, 6-2, 6-1, and Veksler defeated Lepinay in straight sets, 6-2, 6-3. Caluk finished the shutout when she won her match, also in straight sets, 6-2, 6-4, over Meregalli.

Head Coach Katarina Petrovic said after the opener the team needed to execute their shots better and be more consistent in their matches moving forward.

In the match against the Bethune-Cookman Wildcats (1-3) on Sunday, Feb. 7, the team continued their dominant play from the day before. Orlando and Lazaro defeated Hilary Hanton and Karen Romero, 6-1, and the duo of Caluk and Brozovich defeated Ancia Ifill and Alejandra Vidal, 6-2. The two victories put the Panthers up 1-0 against the Wildcats.

The consistently dominant play continued into singles play, where the Panthers won all six matches. Veksler defeated Mina Matsuba in straight sets, 6-1, 6-2, and Nagode defeated Matea Roki, 6-1, 6-1, to put the Panthers up 3-0 in the match. Orlando defeated Hanton to get the match-clinching fourth point, but there were two matches still playing. Caluk defeated Romero, 6-2, 6-0, and Brozovich beat Vidal, 6-1, 6-2, to sweep the Wildcats, 7-0.

With the wins over the weekend, the Panthers improved to 19-5 all-time versus the Hatters and 4-0 all-time versus the Wildcats.

The Panthers will take on the Georgia State University Panthers in Atlanta, Georgia, on Friday, Feb. 19. First serve from Atlanta is set for 4 p.m.

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