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Friday, October 19, 2018

Sports

Tennis opens season with mixed performances at Rice Invitational


Head coach Helena Besovic has to rebuild the team after many players transferred out during the summer. | Jhair Romero/The Cougar

Houston’s tennis team began its 2018–2019 campaign at the Rice Invitational this past weekend at the George R. Brown Tennis Center with a solid performance.

Houston had a rough offseason, losing the majority of its players along with former head coach Courtney Steinbock. Despite the setback, the Cougars performed well in the first tournament of the year with new head coach Helena Besovic.

Junior transfer Phonexay Chitdara and freshman Sophie Gerits lost their first doubles match in the red and white 6–2, but the former went on to win her singles debut against USF freshman Laura Pellicer in two sets.

Sophomore transfer Ndindi Ndunda and Gerits also made their singles debuts for Houston Friday, with Gerits dropping her match and Ndunda winning hers.

Gerits’ loss came when she faced off against Rice sophomore Linda Huang. Huang won the first set 6–0. Despite Gerits’ efforts, Huang also won the next one 7–5 to take the match.

On Saturday, Gerits faced off against Maryland senior Millie Stratton in another singles play.

The freshman from Brussels, Belgium, was up a set against Stratton before play was stopped due to inclement weather. Play resumed the next day with Gerits closing out her second set 6–3 to secure her first collegiate win.

Freshman Stephanie Belovukovic saw the court for the first time in her career as well but lost to Alabama junior Ann Selim. She went on to play later in the day and earned her first win versus Northwestern State junior Emilija Dancetovic.

Chitdara found success on her last day and beat North Texas’ Alexandra Heczey in straight sets. She advanced to the finals, but the match was not played due to time restrictions.

UH will take the court again at the SMU Invitational in Dallas on Oct. 5.

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