Women’s tennis off to a perfect start

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The No. 23 SMU women’s tennis team has already made an impressive statement in regard to defending their Conference USA crown, opening the season with a perfect record thus far, 4-0.

The Mustangs played four matches this past weekend and won them all handily, defeating Texas-Pan American, Stephen F. Austin University, Louisiana Tech University and Texas State University. Over the four matches, SMU has only given up one out of 22 points.

Against UPTA on Friday, the Mustangs barely broke a sweat, sweeping the match, 5-0. The team did not drop a single set and the No. 1 doubles team of Marta Lesniak and Aleksandra Malyarchikova did not drop a single game against their Bronco counterparts.

“Today was a good start for us as we begin a long weekend of matches,” said head coach Lauren Longbotham Meisner in an interview on smumustangs.com. “The conditions were pretty windy, but the team adapted well. We hope to take the same energy that we had today into our next matches.”

SMU took on Stephen F. Austin the next day and though the Mustangs won, the Lumberjacks can at least claim that they are the only team to take a point off SMU so far. Between the top-three seeds of Lesniak, Malyarchikova and senior Pavi Francis, the trio only dropped three games total.

Even a double header on Sunday could not slow down the Mustangs, as SMU swept both Louisiana Tech and Texas State.

The Louisiana Tech event had only one close match, when SMU senior Casey Kennedy was forced into a third set tiebreaker against Rocio Juarez. Kennedy took the first set easily but was narrowly defeated in the second, setting up the tiebreaker. Juarez fought hard but Kennedy prevailed in the end, winning the tiebreaker, 11-9.

Against Texas State, four of the matches, one doubles and three singles, were never finished. Though the doubles match was well in hand, all three singles matches were far from over when the Texas State players dropped out.

Lesniak earned the first C-USA women’s tennis player of the week honor for the spring season with her flawless performance over the weekend, going a perfect 7-0.

With their strong start propelling them forward, the Mustangs are now headed to the NCAA Regional Indoor Championships on Jan. 29-30 in Gainesville, Fla. SMU’s first opponent will be Florida International and then either Florida or BYU in the second match-up.

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