With only a handful of home matches (four) this 2020 season, Memphis Women’s Tennis (3-3) comfortably won half of them this past Sunday. The Tigers defeated South East Missouri State 7-0 and Lipscomb 4-1 at the Eldon Roark Tennis Center in Whitehaven.
While it was their first home games of the year, it was in a different facility as both tennis programs await their renovated Leftwich Tennis Center for next year. Head coach Hayden Perez let his team know beforehand to enjoy being in their hometown.
“We talked to the kids this morning and said, ‘Look, we don’t have a lot of (home matches) this year, so you better get excited about it today,’” Perez said. “You don’t get too many opportunities with our current situation, so when you have them, you got to take advantage with them.”
After dropping three of their last four matches against SEC foes (Arkansas, Ole Miss and Auburn), Memphis started their day indoors against the Redhawks and settled in quickly with a sweep in all three doubles action. Hannah Davies and Lina Hohnhold were the first winners after taking a 6-2 victory on court 3, and duo Laura Bente and Aran Teixido Garcia clinched the win in a 6-3 bout on court 1.
In singles action, only four courts were available due to a more compact indoor venue, and freshman Monique Woog and junior Lina Hohnhold had to wait to start their matches. Despite that, the Tigers again had full control with Garcia earning a quick 6-0, 6-1 victory in straight sets while later on, Laura Bente clinched the first win of the day in three sets over SEMO’s Kseniya Zonova (7-5, 4-6, 6-1).
In their second game of the doubleheader, Memphis took its action against Lipscomb to the outdoor courts for the first time this year. Bente and Garcia handled their opponents in swift fashion just dropping one game in a 6-1 win, and the pair of Katherine Cao and Alisha Reayer clinched the doubles point (6-3) for the Tigers shortly after.
Hohnhold took her second singles win of the day on court 5, and the junior credited her dominant play to just being looser on the court.
“For me individually, I was just trying to play more free,” Hohnhold said. “That’s is what I’m working on right now like not playing tight, so I can move way better.”
After the Bison’s’ Kate Popova earned a win on court 1 over Reayer, Garcia was able to make it a 3-1 overall lead for Memphis, and Woog clinched the game for the Tigers after a 6-1, 7-5 victory. The Lakeland, Tenn. native was glad to play in front of local family and friends and has settled into the team well.
“It was pretty solid just getting to play in front of my family and some friends that I know,” Woog said. “especially winning was kind of nice, and to clinch it at the end, I had no clue we were up 3-1 sot that was pretty cool.”
After she came up thru juniors competition, the transition to the collegiate level of tennis has been different, but now the former No. 1 player in Tennessee feels better after more experience.
“Well coming from Juniors where you didn’t have any coaching, it’s been kind of weird,” Woog said. “I always get a little confused when (the coaches) come over and start talking to me, but it’s getting better as I’ve gotten more matches under my belt. I love hanging out with the team; they’re pretty chill.”
The Tigers now start a 10-game road trip starting in Florida and ending in Nevada. They start against Florida Atlantic and Florida International this weekend, and they do not return to Memphis until March 28 for their Senior Weekend against Cincinnati and Xavier.
Monique Woog focusing on the ball. The freshman from Lakeland, Tenn. won both of her matches on the doubleheader, and clinched the 4-1 win against Lipscomb.
Head Coach Hayden Perez gives a handshake to senior Josephine Cao during a match against Lipscomb on Feb. 09, 2020. The Memphis Tigers improved to a 3-3 record after defeating South East Missouri State and Lipscomb on Sunday.
Lina Hohnhold readying her return serve against Lipscomb. The Haan, Germany native was near perfect on Sunday with 6-0, 6-0 and 6-0, 6-1 wins in singles action.