SANTA CRUZ, Calif. — Lilijana Semak and Christie Kurdys led the Cal Lutheran Regals at the UC Santa Cruz Banana Slug Invitational over the weekend. The pair battled their way into the finals and set the tone for the rest of the fall competition.
"It was fun watching their doubles skills grow as the tournament went on. They played aggressive and had a good time playing together," said head coach Mike Gennette.
Lilijana Semak and Christie Kurdys stole the show, making it all the way to the final round in their Doubles Flight A. In round one, the pair squared off against Division II Holy Names' Rutendo Gwaze and Symone Jacques, battling and narrowly edging out their opponents 8-7 (3).
They carried their momentum next into the semifinals, dominating Div. II Dominican's Alex Wartenberg and Ofelia Lopez 8-2 to advance into the finals. Unfortunately, it would be Holy Names' Dominque Ernst and Jahan Bayramova who took the finals matchup 8-1.
"I think we played really well, especially for only having played with each other twice beforehand. I had a really great time playing doubles with [Semak] and the tournament overall was a blast," said Kurdys.
In Flight B, Carolina Groff and Nicole Alvarez fell in round one to Div. II Fresno Pacific's Marina Lex and Sanne Brull 8-3. The pair was able to recover though and shutdown the first round of the consolation bracket 8-0 over Div. III Mills College's Dana Culpepper and Grace Deaton. Though putting up a good flight, the duo fell in the consolation finals 8-5 to Div. III UC Santa Cruz's Hally Bender and Cassidy Ferrell.
In the same flight, Heidi Levanen and Kassie Munsee came just short in round one 8-6 to Div. II Stanislaus State's Briana Hooks and Sylvna Talamantes, before falling in the first consolation round to Santa Cruz's Hall and Ferrell.
Moving on in Flight C, Regals Joann Taylor and Sophia Gawrit smothered Mills College's Celia Kaplan and Jada Temple 8-1 in round one, but fell to Stanislaus State's Amila Gogalija and Taylor Galya in the semifinals by a score of 8-0.
Rounding out the doubles pairs, Jade Moore and Rubina Copano fell to Santa Cruz's Savan McDowell and Vivian Lee in round one 8-3 and succumbed to Mills College's Ashley Tesmer and Cienna Clark 8-1 in the consolation bracket.
Leading again, Kurdys fell to Fresno Pacific's Lopez 2-6, 6-3, 6-4 in round one (round of 16), but rebounded to defeat Santa Cruz Isabelle Brown in first round of consolation bracket 6-2,6-2. She went on to win 5-7, 6-1, 0(9) over Dominican's Taylor Lim to advance to the consolation finals, but pulled out due to injury.
Also in Flight A with Kurdys, Semak fell in the round one in Flight A to Stanislaus State's Ferrell 6-1,6-0 and in first round of consolation bracket to Santa Cruz Kayla Manz 6-1, 6-0.
Four Regals were drawn for Flight B. In round one, Taylor took down Holy Name's Barajas 6-3, 6-3 and went on to defeat Stanislaus State's Sylvna Talamantes 6-2, 6-4 in second round. She eventually fell to Fresno Pacific's Brull 6-4, 6-0 in the semifinals.
In round one, Alvarez fell to Holy Names' Gwaze 6-2, 6-3, Levanen to Stanislaus State's Megan Hagerty 6-4, 6-2 and Groff to Santa Cruz's McDowell 6-3, 6-2. On the other hand, all three finished victorious over their opponents in the first round of the consolation bracket.
Alvarez edged out Santa Cruz's Theres Recidoro 6-4, 7-6 (1) in round one, then went on to beat teammate Heidi Levanen in the semifinals 6-1, 6-3 before falling in the finals 8-2 to Holy Names' Macy Barajas.
Levanen beat Mills College's Dana Culpepper 6-1, 6-0 in round one of consolation before falling to teammate Alvarez. Groff won her first consolation round 6-0, 6-1 over Mills College's Grace Deaton before falling in the semifinals to Barajas.
In the final singles flight of the tournament, all three Regals won round one of Flight C.
Munsee won round one 7-2, 2-6, 6-3 over Mills College's Clark, but lost in the quarterfinals to Stanislaus State's Hooks 6-1, 6-4. Moore took round one 7-6 (1), 6-4 over Dominican's Sierra Shacklford, but lost to Santa Cruz's Sabrina Lieu in the next round 7-6 (6), 6-0. Gawrit also won round one over Mills College's Jada Temple 6-0, 6-0 before falling to Fresno Pacific's Claudia Iglesias 6-0, 6-0 in the round of eight.
The Regals now turn their attention to the spring, opening their season at Westmont on Tuesday, February 12, at 3 p.m. in Santa Barbara, California.
Full Results: UC Santa Cruz Banana Slug Invitational
W Tennis Instagram: @regals_tennis
W Tennis Twitter: @CLUwTennis
CLU Instagram: @clusports
CLU Twitter: @CLUSports
CLU Facebook: CLU Sports
Hashtags: #clusports #goregals #gokingsmen #ownthethrone #theSCIAC #ncaad3
Release by Christy Effendie, Assistant Sports Information Director