After three days, six brackets (or flights) and many matches, the Army Invite has come to a close. Although not every UConn player progressed far in their respective flights, there was still some serious improvement from last year. For the most part, the Huskies continued their hot start to the season.
The two players representing UConn in the first flight were juniors Olivia Wright and Maria Constantinou. The two had been the best singles players for the team leading up to this Invite, both undefeated to start the season in singles play. Wright advanced to the second round, defeating Fairleigh Dickison senior Anastasia Lim in straight sets. Constantinou didn’t fare as well, falling to Fordham senior Xiaowei Hu. Cornell senior Lauren Stein got the better of Wright in the second round, ending singles play for the Huskies in the flight.
Three Huskies participated in the second flight: senior Aleksandra Karamyshev, sophomore Cameron Didion and first-year Victoria Matos. Quinnipiac sophomore Vera Sekerina defeated Matos in round one, but Karamyshev and Didion advanced to the quarterfinals. Unfortunately, that’s as far as both would go, as Fordham first-year Anlin Xie bested Karamyshev, and Didon lost to Army sophomore Vennmukiil Mathivanan.
Following a promising second flight, UConn had first-year Caroline Hinshaw as their sole representative in Flight C and she didn’t disappoint. Hinshaw beat Fairfield graduate student Laina Campos and Cornell sophomore Tanya Fan in the first two rounds, both in straight sets. Hinshaw only lost one game out of the first 25 combined. In the quarterfinals, an Army player once again proved to be too much as first-year Madison Smith won the match 6-2, 6-3.
With the last chance for the Huskies to bring home some singles hardware, senior Nansi Toskova and junior Isabel Petri Bere tried to do just that in the final singles flight. While Toskova lost to Sacred Heart junior Renee Sharma in round one, Petri Bere advanced to the final round. In a match that went to three sets, Rider first-year Laila Fishman ultimately outlasted Petri Bere.
In the first flight of doubles action, the Huskies that paired up were Wright and Matos, as well as Petri Bere and Karamyshev. After winning their first-round matches, Petri Bere and Karamyshev got eliminated by Fairleigh Dickison’s pairing of Lim and junior Namie Isago. Wright and Matos advanced to the finals in the flight, marking the second finals appearance for UConn up to that point. In the big match, Wright and Matos won with a score of 6-4 vs. senior Sandra Dzhambazov and graduate student Sofia Pinedo of the New Jersey Institute of Technology.
In the last flight of the invite, the partnership of Constantinou and Hinshaw, along with Toskova and first-year Isabel Asenov, both had the last opportunity for UConn to secure another flight championship. Toskova and Asenov had a respectable showing, losing in the second round to Fairleigh Dickinson graduate student Alena Kubanova and senior Gauri Bhagia. Constantinou and Hinshaw continued to advance, earning another finals appearance for the Huskies, where they’d square off against the Quinnipiac duo of Sekerina and first-year Anagha Shankara. In another tough loss, Sekerina and Shankara edged out the victory with a score of 6-3.
After having only one of seven singles players make it to at least the quarterfinals last year, UConn advanced four of eight. This is a clear improvement, even though they did not win a flight championship. Petri Bere was a standout for the Huskies in singles play, advancing the farthest out of the eight players, but lost in the final match of Flight D. Last year, in doubles, the two pairings advanced to the second round and the quarterfinals, which isn’t bad, but something that could be improved upon. This year showed that improvement as Wright and Matos won the only championship for the Huskies this invite, the Flight A Doubles Championship. Both doubles pairs made it to the finals, proving to the other teams that this squad has made a real jump in quality. Overall, these results should be something for the squad to be proud of and can motivate them to keep firing on all cylinders throughout the season.
After a week off, the Huskies return on Oct. 5-8 for the ITA Division 1 Regional Championships hosted by Harvard in Cambridge, Mass.