Gbadamosi makes round of 16 at regional
Oct. 14, 2013
Junior Precious Gbadamosi advanced to the round of 16 at last week's ITA Mountain Regional, and her stellar play highlighted three days of singles and doubles action for the Montana women's tennis team at UNLV's Fertitta Tennis Complex in Las Vegas.
It marked the third straight year the Grizzlies have had a player reach the round of 16 at the regional tournament. Gbadamosi is the third different player for head coach Steve Ascher to advance that far. Laurence Pelchat made the round of 16 in 2011, Haley Driver in 2012.
Gbadamosi has gone 2-1 at each of Montana's fall tournaments, at Boise State, Rice and the ITA, with all three of her loses coming in three sets. Gbadamosi's 6-3 fall record improves her career mark to 56-19.
"I've been practicing really hard this year and taking lessons with Steve," Gbadamosi said. "I've been trying to get my forehand a lot better, and it's working. I'm hitting bigger balls.
"And I think my mental game is a lot better, so that's helped me. Knowing my opponent's weaknesses, how to set up shots and make smarter decisions. Experience helps with that, as does the stuff Steve tells us."
Montana won five singles matches in the tournament's main bracket. Gbadamosi won two of the five.
After advancing out of the round of 128 with a bye, Gbadamosi defeated Tasha Hueffner of Air Force in the round of 64, 7-5, 6-2.
"I was more of the aggressor in that match, so I kind of just took over," Gbadamosi said. "She gave me short balls to work with, so I really had to step in and go for my shots."
Her match in the round of 32 pitted Gbadamosi against UNLV's Santa Shumilina, a transfer from Mississippi who had a .800 winning percentage while playing singles for the Rebels last season.
Gbadamosi won 6-3, 6-4.
"I heard she was a really good player who plays line three for (UNLV)," she said. "I just went out there and did my thing. I don't think I ever gave her a chance to step in and hit her shots."
Gbadamosi, who was seeded in the tournament's Nos. 9-16 singles rankings, faced Wyoming's Dorottya Jonas in the round of 16. Jonas was unranked, but she was part of the region's No. 2 doubles pairing with teammate Veronica Popovici.
Gbadamosi won her fifth straight set to open the tournament when she rolled to a 6-2 victory in the opener.
"I was being the aggressor and being smarter," she said. "I was going for my shots and really being consistent. I was serving well, too, and that helped me win the set pretty easily."
The second set went to a tiebreak, and Gbadamosi held a 6-3 lead, giving her three match points. Jonas won five straight points to take the tiebreaker, then won 6-3 in the third set.
"That was a very tough loss," Gbadamosi said. "She got a lot more aggressive. She came up with really good angles and shots and was more on the offensive side. (After I took the lead in the tiebreak) she came up with some great shots, and I couldn't get it together."
Montana's other three wins in the singles bracket came in the round of 128. Seniors Ashley Mackey and Maddy Murray won straight-set decisions over Alexis Garrett of UNLV and Northern Colorado's Chrissie Hoolahan, respectively, and junior Haley Driver rallied for a 5-7, 6-2, 6-2 win over BYU's Savannah Ware.
Junior Sasha Carter won an off-bracket match on Friday against Utah State's Alexis Turley, 6-2, 6-0.
In the doubles bracket, Montana's three pairings all made it to the round of 32. Mackey and Murray defeated a team from Boise State in the round of 64, 8-5, and Driver and Gbadamosi beat a team from Colorado, 8-3.
Both of those teams, plus the No. 6-seeded pairing of Carter and junior Laurence Pelchat, lost in the round of 32. Driver and Gbadamosi dropped a tight 8-6 decision to Wyoming's Jonas and Popovici, who ultimately made it to the semifinals.
"We did okay, but I think we could have done better," Gbadamosi said about the team's three-day performance. "But everyone had a great effort and tried really hard. We'll start getting ready for California, and hopefully that will be better."
Montana will compete at Cal State Northridge's tournament on Nov. 1-3 in the Grizzlies' final fall competition.
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