[media-credit name=”weberstatesports.com” align=”alignright” width=”300″][/media-credit]

Weber State University’s Naseem Eslami prepares to hit the ball during a recent match.

The Weber State University women’s tennis team traveled to Idaho last weekend, where they took part in Boise State University’s Jack Taylor Classic. Sophomore Ashley Tanner was the success story of the team, making it to the semifinals.

The university teams competing in the Jack Taylor Classic were BSU, New Mexico State University, Utah State University and Idaho State University. Tanner was able to advance to the semifinals in a very competitive field. Tanner’s first win came Friday afternoon against a BSU player; Tanner was the only victorious Wildcat of that round. On Saturday, during the quarterfinal matches, Tanner defeated a player from New Mexico, 7-5 and 6-2, to send herself to the semifinals that afternoon. Tanner’s impressive run fell short when she later lost to a BSU player in a very close match.

On the consolation side of the tournament bracket, Michelle Warwick advanced to the quarterfinals, defeating an ISU opponent 7-6 and 6-2. Annika Karlsen and Nittaya Phonharath also secured two consolation match wins.

Karlsen and Phonharath met up against each other in the semifinal match of their bracket. Phonharath came away with the victory. Following the victory over Karlsen, Phonharath sealed the consolation championship victory with a win over ISU’s Rachel Ryan, 6-4 and 6-1.

Brittiny Moore is the only senior on this year’s squad. She said she feels the team is growing strong and will have a good season.

“I am very excited about the competitive edge our team has this year,” Moore said. “We have a lot of talent, and I believe that it will be showcased at the right time. Hopefully, that time is conference in the spring,”

This year, WSU has a young team, being composed mainly of sophomores. Assistant Coach Markay Mullen said that the team has been putting in more time on conditioning to improve their overall level of physicality to make themselves better on the court.

“The girls have been working extra hard in practice this fall season,” Mullen said. “We have amped up the intensity of practices quite significantly in comparison to last season. I have noticed a large boost of energy in the girls’ play that wasn’t there this early last year.”

The final matches for the fall season will be held in Las Vegas, Nev., at the ITA Regional Tournament beginning Oct. 11. There are going to be 16-18 highly competitive teams at the regional tournament that will test the Wildcats’ abilities on the court. During the offseason time in between fall and spring play, the team will work to improve its tennis skills, cardiovascular endurance and strength, which will help it prepare for the Big Sky Tournament in April.

Both coaches said that the final factor they believe has played a huge role in the team’s early success is chemistry. Head Coach Jonas Ehrlin said that when there is positive chemistry on and off the court, success will more readily be achieved than if there is negativity.

“I believe that if we continue to play and work as hard as we are right now, we will be a favorite for the conference champion in the spring,” Ehrlin said.

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