LONG BEACH, Calif. — The Montana women’s tennis team bounced back from a slow opening day to get a couple of consolation championships this past weekend in the Long Beach State Invitational.
The Grizzlies brought four players, each participating in one of the four draws of the tournament. On Friday, all four singles players dropped the opening match, moving every Grizzly into the consolation bracket.
Coach Steve Ascher was pleased with how his team handled the adversity they faced.
“It was a little bit of a slow start. I think coming off that day, the courts are slower and you have to play a little bit more calculated points,” Ascher said. “I think they made great adjustments going into the second day.”
Montana then saw three of its four players make deep runs in consolation brackets. In the B draw, Cam Kincaid rallied off three straight victories for the consolation championship. In the semifinals, she went to three sets with Tia Elpusan of UC-Riverside but closed out the final set 6-1 and used the momentum to roll to a two-set win Sunday in the consolation final.
The Griz also had a consolation champion in the D draw. Eimear Maher had a couple of easy two-set wins to get into the championship match against Carlotta Casasampere of Long Beach State. After dropping the opening set, Maher rallied for a 3-6, 6-4, 6-3 victory.
Julia Ronney also worked her way to the consolation finals, dropping a two-set decision to Karla Portalatin of Cal State Fullerton.
Bianca Bostrum dropped both of her matches, but Ascher was impressed by what he saw from the Swedish freshman.
“Bianca played some really good singles. She came up against some really good opponents throughout the weekend, so she got top-notch experience which is fantastic,” Ascher said. “Her game is getting better by the day.”
The Griz didn’t have as much success in the doubles draw, but Orfanos and Bostrum teamed up for a non-scheduled match against a tough team from Loyola-Marymount and won it 6-3.
Ascher has been encouraged by the play of his team this fall.
“I think we’re going to be good," he said. "I think the big thing is we’re going to have a ton of depth this year, and that is a huge portion of being successful in college tennis is that depth piece.
"We have a lot of variety, and I haven’t really necessarily felt we’ve done a lot of coaching because we’ve had a lot of matches. There are so many different ways that these players can grow and progress quickly and I think they’re going to be even better come spring time.”