Nov. 5, 2010
Orlando, Fla. - Battling windy conditions couldn't slow down the Florida Atlantic University women's tennis team as it recorded victories in all of its matches in the first day of action at the University of Central Florida tournament on Friday in Orlando, Fla.
The Owls battled two competitors from Atlantic Coast Conference member Virginia Tech in singles play. Both victories came in three-set decisions.
Sophomore Natasha Phillips held off a late charge to win a deciding third set tiebreaker 8-6. She won the opening set by a 6-4 score before dropping the middle frame by the same margin. Phillips jumped ahead of her opponent early in the third set by holding a 5-2 advantage and having four match points.
"It was pretty windy early in the match, making it hard to control the ball," said Phillips. "I got use to her game and stayed patient. It was a back-and-forth match. After losing the lead I tried to not focus on the score. Instead, I focused on every single shot."
Meanwhile, freshman Marlene Ryan recorded her first collegiate win. The Delray Beach, Fla. native came back after dropping the first set, 6-4, to win the next two sets, 6-3 and 6-2.
"It took me a set to figure out my opponent," said Ryan. "Going into the third set I felt stronger and good about my game. I have learned that you cannot wait until after a match to analyze my play. I must adjustments during the match."
Assistant Coach Nikki Dzubay also was pleased with the girls' performances to begin the tournament.
"This will be good for their confidence moving forward," she said. "Virginia Tech is a strong team so it feels good for us to get two wins. Both players are very coachable and made the correct adjustments to pull out tough matches."
Phillips and Ryan will team up in doubles beginning on Saturday at 10 a.m. with more singles scheduled in the afternoon. The tournament will conclude with both singles and doubles matches on Sunday.