BOONE -The North Carolina A&T women's tennis team fell to 0-2 on the season after a closely fought match at Appalachian State on Saturday afternoon, in which the Mountaineers won, 7-0.
The Aggies saw some strong progress on the court.
"I fee like we performed more consistently today than yesterday," said senior team captain Azeib Nigatu. "We were more consistent, and more competitive. We were out there longer than in yesterday's match, fighting."
What will the Aggies take away from Saturday's match? "Patience and working as a team to get those four points," Nigatu said.
The Aggies competed for nearly 3 ½ hours at the ASU Tennis Courts, and had strong doubles performances and competitive singles matches. After having two doubles pairs each win two games on Friday against Elon, the Aggies had two pairs of double teams win four or more games on Saturday against the Mountaineers.
"We were a little more patient in doubles and attacking a little bit more," Nigatu said, describing their improved success rate in doubles competition.
Nigatu and partner junior Cayla Cross, who did not win a game on Friday, won five on Saturday against the Mountaineers. They lost the doubles match, 8-4, but came back from being down 5-0 to win their next three games against Blakeley Bean and Gisela Fernandez.
"We told ourselves that we were going to start like the match was at 0-0, forget our mistakes in the previous game and that kind of helped us," Nigatu said.
Junior Nianna Henry and sophomore Kimberly Stalling were up 3-2 at one point in their doubles match against Gabriela Celi and Jessica Thaggard, but ended up losing, 8-4. But that was still two more games than they won on Friday against Elon's Maria Camara Ruiz and Kaylyn Smialek. Kenya Colbert and April Burrage took on Ellie Linsell and Jennifer Ansari in doubles, and lost, 8-0.
"Everybody just fought throughout our singles matches," Nigatu said, adding that the team utilized some techniques that they had been practicing. "We worked on slicing and coming in more than usual."
The Aggies will work on improving their skills in practice this week in preparation for their next match.
"We will work on ground strokes and keeping the balls back, and making sure we hit the target," Nigatu said.
The Aggies will return to Piedmont Indoor Tennis Center for their next match, taking on the Wofford Terriers at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 28.
Tennis Match Results
1. Ellie Linsell (ASU) def. COLBERT, Kenya (NCATW) 6-1, 6-0
2. Jennifer Ansari (ASU) def. STALLING, Kimberly (NCATW) 6-2, 6-0
3. Jessica Thaggard (ASU) def. CROSS, Cayla (NCATW) 6-0, 6-0
4. Gabby Gabriel (ASU) def. NIGATU, Azeib (NCATW) 6-2, 6-0
5. Gabriela Celi (ASU) def. HENRY, Nianna (NCATW) 6-1, 6-1
6. Kim-Lea Dinh (ASU) def. BURRAGE, April (NCATW) 6-1, 6-0
1. Ellie Linsell/Jennifer Ansari (ASU) def. BURRAGE, April/COLBERT, Kenya (NCATW) 8-0
2. Blakeley Bean/Gisela Fernandez (ASU) def. NIGATU, Azeib/CROSS, Cayla (NCATW) 8-4
3. Gabriela Celi/Jessica Thaggard (ASU) def. HENRY, Nianna/STALLING, Kimberly (NCATW) 8-4