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Mace & Crown | April 22, 2018

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Double Dagger Net Swagger

A singles clinic and doubles sweep ended a near perfect day for the Lady Monarchs (2-0) as they knocked off the Norfolk State Spartans (0-1) 7-0 and Howard Bison (0-1) 6-1, respectively as Old Dominion began the 2013 campaign Saturday at Folkes-Stevens Tennis Center.

In the first match, freshman newcomer Nikol Hristova teamed up with Juliana Pires to defeat Andrea Macchiavello and Yvonne 6-1 in doubles action to seal the point in doubles action. Diana Ivanova and Melissa Esnal Olguin shut out Luara Gutierrez and Mafalda Lhorca 8-0, while the other fresh face Ivana Vukovic paired with Nika Kmolosvka to take Rebecca Graff and Maryna Kariuk 8-1 for the sweep.

Singles action pitted Ivanova against Maccahiavello, as the Russian senior took care of business in straight sets 6-3, 6-2. Hristova defeated Yvonne Kameone 6-2, 6-0 in the first singles action of her collegiate career at ODU. Elsewhere, Olguin made quick work of Lhorca 6-2, 6-2. Kmolosvka handled Mariuk 6-1, 6-0 and Faith Atiso rounded out the singles sweep with a 6-0, 6-0 shutout over Kia Batiste.

After the match, head coach Dominic Manilla expressed his satisfaction for the team’s opening performance in the opening matches of the day.

“I think the girls came out and they were focused the entire time,” Manilla said. “Everybody closed out very professionally. I think we looked strong today. We looked experienced, even in our youth.”

Heading into her final go-around in her collegiate career, Ivanova spoke of her dominance in the final singles contest to wrap up the match, citing the reliance of her fundamentals as a tool that propelled her to take care of one half of the day’s business.

“First match is always tough because it’s the beginning of the season and then you have to find your game,” Ivanova said. “You have to focus and remember how to play points and not focus on the score.”

Speaking of the score, the senior was adamant in spite of the score that her opponent Macchiavello didn’t give up despite being contested in such a lopsided contest and expressing her expletive vocal frustration in the second set. She also noted what her team needed to do in the next match to carry the momentum into 3 p.m.

“I don’t think she gave up, she was fighting until the last point. She had pretty good shots, so she didn’t give up,” Ivanova said. “For the next game (against Howard at 3 p.m.) I will just try to put every ball inside the court and just play my game.”

So after establishing their dominance in the first course of the meal, how would the main course and dessert fare? The answer was quite appealing to the home team.

In the second game, the Lady Monarchs gave the Bison all they could handle and then some.

Ivanova once again teamed up with Olguin to handle Katelyn Stokes and Brittney Morgan in doubles to the tune of 8-2. Hiristova and Pires then took their success against the Spartans into the second contest in a 8-1 thumping of Talia Johnson and Stacey Roheman. And Khmolosvka and Vukovic defeated Umarah Mughee and Gabrielle Moxey 7-4 to complete a second consecutive doubles sweep of the day over the Bison.

In singles play, the only loss of the day came when Ivanova dropped straight sets to Stokes 7-5, 7-5. Other than that, it was all ODU, all day long. Hristova settled into her career to take down Morgan 6-1, 6-3 to improve to 3-0 on the court for the day. Vukovic followed with the completion of a three-win performance of her own, defeating Mughee 6-0, 6-2 in straight sets. Pires halted Johnson 6-2, 6-3, while Olguin took care of Moxey 6-2, 6-2.  Khmolovska made quick work of Roheman 6-0, 6-1.

With the second match of the day wrapped up, Pires expressed her thoughts on the match, her opponent, and how rehab is going for a knee injury which forced her to miss significant time last season due to injury.

“She’s a good player and she was very consistent but what I was looking for in this match was getting myself back into the game after all my injuries,” Pires said of Johnson and her knee.

“So it was just like getting confident, trying to do the best I could. I’m just going to get it and play every match. And it’s going to keep going,” Pires spoke of her confidence.

On her knee and how rehab is going: “I’m not back to where I was but it’s a good start. Today’s win was very important to me because it was the first one since last semester, I barely played. So it was good,” Pires said.

Going forward into next week, Manilla is adamant in building on these wins to put everything in place going forward.

“All in all, our girls are looking tough. I think from top to bottom, we’ll be successful if we played the way we did today,” Manilla said.

   By: Brian Jerry

Senior Writer