Knights Complete ITA Southeast Regional Championships

by Logan Hasselbach

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – The UCF women’s tennis team completed its time at the ITA Southeast Regional Championships this past week. All competing members collected at least one singles win, including Anique Kattenberg, who earned two in her march to the main draw.

Kattenberg began her tournament in the qualifying draw where she first took on Genesis Whitelock of Florida A&M. The redshirt junior handily defeated the Rattler, with a final score of 6-1, 6-0 to move one step closer to the main draw. Next on the bracket was North Florida’s Alisa Lyshko, who Kattenberg beat 6-3, 6-4, not letting the Osprey get much momentum to advance into the main draw. The main draw proved to be more difficult for Kattenberg, falling in the round of 64 to second-seeded and 13th-ranked Sara Dahlstrom from Florida (6-0, 6-3).

Noel Saidenova earned a spot in the main draw and immediately defeated Melisa Senli of South Florida in the round of 64, 7-5, 6-4. Saidenova fell in the round of 34 to Miami’s Isabella Pfenning, the fifth- seed in the tournament and 52nd-ranked single in the preseason poll, 6-0, 6-4.

Jaleesa Leslie opened her tournament in the round of 64 in the main draw, taking on a difficult competitor in Cade Cricchio of Florida State. Leslie battled hard and came out on top in a thrilling 7-6(3), 5-7, 6-4 victory. In the round of 32, the senior went head-to-head with the tournament’s third seed, Georgia Tech’s Kylie Bilchev. Leslie ultimately fell to the 28th-ranked Yellow Jacket 6-1, 6-2.

Sophia Biolay started the Regional Championships as the lone seeded Knight, earning the 15th seed in the tournament. Her first opponent was Ninon Martinache, a sophomore from Georgia Southern. The Eagle took the first set, but Biolay kicked it into high gear in the final two sets, taking the match 4-6, 6-1, 6-3. The round of 32 is where her tournament came to an end, falling short to Qavia Lopez, the seventh-best newcomer according to the ITA, in a three-set nailbiter, 7-5, 6(4)-7, 6-2.

The two doubles tandems that competed struggled to find their rhythm. Biolay and partner Jantje Tilbuerger faced top-seeded Mai Nirundorn and Guillermina Grant in the opening round and fell to the 12th-ranked duo 8-3. Saidenova and Kattenberg were paired with No. 3 Oyinlomo Quadre and Ekaterina Khayrutdinova in the round of 32 of the main draw. The Knights pairing put up quite a fight against the 51st-ranked doubles tandem from FIU, but ultimately fell 8-7(7) to the Panthers, who finished as runners-up in the tournament.