After a decent performance at the Brown Invite and a week off, the UConn women’s tennis team will travel to Elon, North Carolina for the Jimmy Powell Invitational hosted by Elon University. According to the history books, this will be UConn’s first time at the invite. In their last chance of the year, the Huskies will want to end the season off on a high note.
Since 2000, Elon University has built up a respectable women’s tennis program. Their first season saw them go 4-13 overall (0-5 in conference play), while their most recent season they went 16-7 (6-2 in conference play). The Huskies are getting a huge break
, though, as Olivia Archer graduated and will no longer be on the team. Archer, who played at Elon from 2018-2023, holds the school record for career singles wins with 73. On top of that, she’s No. 3 in school history for singles wins in a season with 19, and fifth in career doubles wins with 51. She has multiple player of the week awards and an ITA Arthur Ashe Sportsmanship and Leadership Award to her name and will be a huge loss for the Phoenix.
Stepping up in her place will be seniors Sibel Tanik and Lizette Reding, two players who are working their way into the record book as well. Tanik is currently No. 13 in career singles wins with 43 and is the only active player in the top 15. She’s also No. 11 in career doubles wins with 39, but Reding is right behind her with 36. Reding also had 16 singles wins in the 2021 season, good enough for No. 13 for singles wins in a season. Tanik enters the Jimmy Powell Invitational on a two-match skid, but Reding has won her last two matches.
The supporting cast for the Phoenix consists of junior Miray Konar and sophomore Helen Sarikulaya. Konar started the fall season off with a staggering 8-0 start in singles play, losing her first match a few weeks ago against Liberty. Overall, she’s got a 17-5 total singles and doubles record and will be tough for whoever she plays. Sarikulaya has played more matches, accumulating an 11-7 singles record, and a 23-12 overall record. She had an impressive showing at Elon’s last meet, rattling off a couple of wins at the ITA Carolina Regionals this past weekend.
Tanik, Reding, Konar and Sarikulaya are four players who have been playing well recently and could potentially get some big wins. UConn will definitely have its hands full and will need to bring its A-game.
UConn players to watch
Heading into the final weekend of play, juniors Olivia Wright and Maria Constantinou continue to lead the pack. They both had a quiet Brown Invite, but it has been a very impressive season for both in singles and doubles.
Going off recent form, junior Isabel Petri Bere and freshman Caroline Hinshaw were the two best Huskies at their last invite two weeks ago. They led the team with a 6-1 overall singles and doubles record each en route to a mostly successful invite.
Freshman Victoria Matos will be wrapping up her first season of play and has impressed with the extent that she has stepped up in big spots for the Huskies. When the usual contributors were having off days over the course of the season, Matos came in and secured clutch wins. Even when the whole team was performing well at an invite, more often than not Matos was among the top singles and doubles performers.
What to expect
This will be an interesting matchup for the Huskies. They’ve never played at this invitational before so it could lead to an adjustment for the team going all the way to North Carolina. Connecticut has also not played completely up to their standards in the past few meets. That being said, the talent is there as always, and UConn has every opportunity to end the fall season with a bang.
The invite begins on Friday, Oct. 27 and will continue until Sunday, Oct. 29.