Tennis duo earns highest doubles ranking in school history

The FIU tennis team has a shaky start to their season, but expect to make a comeback

By Steven Melendez/Staff Writer

 

The FIU tennis team is coming off one of their best seasons in school history and is attempting to follow it up with an even more impressive 2017-18 preseason. The doubles tandem of junior Maryna Veksler and sophomore Ulyana Grib, displayed their dominance throughout the 2017 ITA Regional Championships in Athens, Georgia and as a result earned the No. 15 doubles ranking in the nation.

At the ITA Regional Championships, the duo defeated the No. 1-seeded Page Hourigan and Kenya Jones of Georgia Tech in the final to earn the first ITA Regional Championship title in FIU Tennis history.

Throughout the tournament, the duo had to face multiple tough opponents including Miami’s No. 6-seeded Ana Madur and Perez Estela, Florida’s No. 3-seeded Brooke Austin and Katie Kubicz, and Georgia Techs No. 5-seeded Ida Jariskog and Johnise Renauld.

Grib talked about her most unforgettable moments from the tournament and what it meant to her and her teammates

“The best moment was of course when we won the final, but the last two matches were definitely the most memorable,” said Grib. “The matches were really tough and we didn’t know the results until the end. The last moment before we won as well, especially since all our teammates were there and they were cheering so much. It’s the best feeling for the team.”

Veksler and Grib’s performances in the 2017 fall season earned them the No. 15 ranking in the Oracle/ITA Women’s National Doubles Rankings. This marked the duo’s first career ranking and the first doubles team to be ranked this high in FIU history.

Veksler talked about these accomplishments and what expectations she has for her team.

“It felt great because it’s a huge achievement for us and the school. It shows how much we’ve worked and how ready we are for this,” said Veksler. “I think we can do even better, and by better I mean not only can we win the C-USA championship, but nationals as well.”

As a doubles team, Grib and Veksler finished with a 7-2 record in the preseason and will look for even more success as they move closer to the start of the 2017-18 season.

Veksler talked about their success and what they need to do as a team to keep it going into the upcoming season.

“We just have to keep doing what we’re doing because it obviously works,” said Veksler. “This preseason we became much stronger in components that we lacked in last season, so I believe this spring should be even more successful for us.”

With the start of the spring season just a little more than a month away, the team looks ready for any obstacles they’ll face. Grib had some words on how the team will approach this new season.

“We are ready for the spring season, and our goal is to win the conference, but of course we want to focus on every match separately,” said Grib. “The big win consists of smaller wins every day, so we have to work hard now. We’re going try to give our 100% effort into every match and win as much as we can.”

The FIU duo and the rest of the Panthers will be back in action on Jan. 21, as the team takes on the Kansas State Wildcats. Matches are set to begin at 1 p.m. from the FIU Tennis Courts.

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