FREDERICKSBURG, Va. -- Virginia Wesleyan College's largest contingent of players ever to compete in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association's Southeast Regional tournament drew some attention in the annual event.
Mia Proctor drew a lot of notice as the Marlin rookie from Arnold, Md. (Broadneck) rolled through Blue 3 Singles to claim the flight championship. It was one of the highlights of the day for VWC, which included a consolation championship in the Blue 6 flight for senior Stephanie Bittner (Westminster, Md./Francis Scott Key).
Proctor finished 4-0 in the tournament, opening with a 6-3, 6-2 win over Elizabethtown College's Sarah Calabro (Archbald, Pa./Valley View) and following with a hard-fought 7-6(4), 6-2 decision over Franklin & Marshall College's Dana Sleeper (Moorestown, N.J./Moorestown) in the quarterfinals. Proctor was strong in the semifinals, posting a 6-2, 6-4 win over Moravian College's Melissa Follett (Bethlehem, Pa./Notre Dame), before out-lasting Muhlenberg College's Sharon Resnikoff (West Long Branch, N.J./Shore Regional) 7-5, 6-3 for the flight championship.
At Blue 6 singles Bittner fell 6-1, 6-1 in the opening round to Allegheny College's Andrea Brush (Loveland, Colo./Thompson Valley), but came back in the opening match of the consolation round to defeat Meredith College's Mack Thompson (Goldsboro, N.C.) 8-2. Bittner received a bye in the quarterfinals and moved into the semifinals where she posted an impressive 8-1 win over Sweet Briar College's Yuliya Rigg (Sweet Briar, Va./Amherst). Bittner faced Sweet Briar's Mary Elise Dugan (Alexandria, Va./Chatham Hall) and recorded a thrilling 9-7 win for the conso crown.
"It was a good showing for Virginia Wesleyan," said Marlins Director of Tennis Tom Drabczyk. "We not only had strong showing from Mia and Stephanie, but also from our players in other flights. I think it might be the first time Virginia Wesleyan has had two players in the championship flight, and they did well."
RookiesLauren Brooker (Wake Forest, N.C./Raleigh Cardinal Gibbons) and Sara Yousif (Waxhaw, N.C./Charlotte Manus Academy) represented VWC in the Championship Flight in both singles and doubles. They reached the round of 16 in both competitions before bowing out.
Brooker opened singles with an impressive 6-0, 6-3 win over Albright College junior Victoria Foanio (Wyomissing, Pa./Holy Name), the two-time Commonwealth Conference Player of the Year. In the round of 16 Brooker met up with Washington and Lee University's Mary Elizabeth Shutley (Marietta, Ga./Marist) and fell 6-0, 6-2.
Yousif followed a similar route, opening with a 6-3, 7-5 win over Elizabethtown junior Allison Burkhardt (Cherry Hill, N.J./East). In the round of 16 Yousif took on Johns Hokpkins University's Stephanie Rettig (New York, N.Y./Professional Children's School) and lost 6-4, 6-2.
Brooker and Yousif combined for an 8-2 win over Salisbury University's Roxy Alban (Annapolis, Md./Annpolis) and Elaina Iouse (Damascus, Md./Damascus) in the first round of Champion Flight doubles, but faced fifth seeded Elizabeth Martin (St. Simon's Island, Ga./Federica Academy) and Bryn Raschke (Del Mar, Calif./Torrey Pines). The Carnegie Mellon University duo won 8-1.
Rookie Tori Ryherd (El Paso, Texas/Loretto Academy) and Proctor competed in Blue 1 doubles and fell 8-3 to eventual flight champions Angela Pratt (Saratoga, Calif./St. Francis) and Alex Tapak (Hinsdale, Ill./Central) from CMU. The Marlins duo moved into consolation competition, but retired with injury from the first round.
In singles Blue 5, VWC rookie Victoria Torres (Pembroke Pines, Fla./West Broward) started strong, bouncing Salisbury's Charlotte Urian, 6-0, 6-1. Torres moved into the quarterfinals against F&M's Emily Gruenberg (Warren, N.J./Morristown Beard School), who won 6-2, 6-3.
Virginia Wesleyan's women's tennis team competes again on Saturday, Oct. 6, when the Marlins host the Old Dominion Athletic Conference Individual Championship tournament at the Everett Tennis Center beginning at 9 a.m.