From the HCC sports desk:
TUCSON, Ariz.—Harford women’s tennis sophomore Kelsey Strine
(Abingdon, Md./Edgewood) finished the 2009-10 season in a tie for fifth place in the country after falling in the NJCAA Women’s Tennis National Championship quarterfinals at No. 6 singles on Tuesday at Reffkin Tennis Center. Fellow sophomore Courtney Brewer (Street, Md./North Harford) advanced to the semifinals of the No. 3 singles consolation draw after her quarterfinal win on Tuesday. The Fighting Owls are currently in 26th place with 4.5 points.
Strine, the No.7 seed to start the tournament, had an unlucky draw from the start as she was paired with the eighth-best player in the No. 6 singles tournament, Abraham Baldwin’s Lauren Smith. The Fighting Owl pulled out a three-set victory, 3-6, 7-6 (7-2), 6-2 in the Round of 32 on Sunday to set up a Round of 16 match with Mesa’s Hayley Roby. Monday saw Strine in another three-set match as she downed Roby, 6-2, 2-6, 6-2 to advance to the Tuesday quarterfinal. Seminole State’s Jade Cunningham, the No. 2 seed, earned a 6-2, 6-0 win in the quarters to oust Strine.
With the quarterfinal match and two tournament wins in the main draw, Strine became the most accomplished Harford player in head coach George Budelis’s career, dating back 12 seasons to 1998. The season did not end for Strine with the quarterfinal exit, however. As was the case on both previous days, Strine had a doubles match immediately following her singles competition. She teamed with sophomore Megan Heagy (Fallston, Md./Fallston/Towson) at No.3 doubles and, after dropping their opening round match on Sunday, the duo rebounded with an 8-3 win in the consolation draw on Monday against Seward County’s Shaley Thomas and Lindy Kowalchuk. That set up a quarterfinal meeting with ASA’s Viktoriya Popova and Gisele Diaz, which the Avengers narrowly won, 9-7.
In other back draw action, Brewer, who dropped a tough, three-set match at No. 3 singles in the opening round on Sunday, advanced to the semifinals with an 8-5 win over Elgin’s Luiza Aleksiekcyk in the first-round back draw on Monday and an 8-3 quarterfinal win over Lake County’s Mirka Illasova on Tuesday. She will play Pima’s Lori Cinnamond in Wednesday’s semifinal at 7:30 a.m. (MT)/10:30 a.m. (ET).
The No. 2 doubles team of sophomore Agnes Burke (Havre de Grace, Md./Havre de Grace) and freshman Julie Vuncannon (Aberdeen, Md./Aberdeen) saw Cinnamond in their consolation draw quarterfinal on Tuesday, but Cinnamond and Pima teammate Ana Gallardo earned an 8-1 win over the Owls.
Heagy was the only other Harford player in action on Tuesday, as she was edged in the quarterfinals of the No. 4 singles back draw, 9-7, by Central Alabama’s Ashley Leverett.