Last week, women’s tennis players Cade Pierson and Erin Wilson traveled to Rome, Georgia to compete in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association Cup. The two qualified after their performance in the NAIA West Regionals in Ramona, California just under a month ago.
At the NAIA West Regionals, senior Pierson and freshman Wilson played against each other in the semifinals. Pierson took the first set 6-2, but Wilson came back strong in the second set 6-4, forcing a final set super tiebreaker. Much to the disappointment of Pierson, Wilson captured the tiebreaker 10-3. She advanced to the finals, where she ran away with the victory: 6-2, 6-1 to earn an automatic bid to the ITA Cup. Luckily, Pierson also qualified for the tournament as well, so the two traveled to Georgia to compete alongside the top 16 singles players in the NAIA.
On Thursday, Wilson and Pierson took the court to kick-off the ITA Cup. Wilson was given the toughest test of the first round, facing off against the number one seed Maria Genovese from Georgia Gwinnett College. Genovese made quick work of Wilson (6-0, 6-1), sending Wilson to the loser’s bracket. Pierson took on Zlata Shuraeva of William Woods University in her first-round match and won the first set 6-2. The second set proved to be trickier, but Pierson prevailed 7-5, putting her into the winner’s bracket.
Round two began the following day with Wilson pitted against Madelyn Bemisdefer of Indian Wesleyan. Wilson put the previous day’s loss behind her and managed to take the first set 6-3. However, Bemisdefer turned the tides and captured the second set 1-6 and then the third 2-6. Pierson’s match was against the number two seed Elyse Lavender from Brenau University. The match went lopsided for Pierson early and she never recovered, as she lost 0-6, 0-6 in the quarterfinals.
A win for Wilson in the next round would put in her a match for 13th place. Her opponent, Brittany Zipf from McPherson College, eyed the same goal. The first set was tight as it went to a tiebreaker. Wilson fought hard and pulled out the tiebreaker 7-4. She was still pushed in the second set, but she closed out the match 7-6(4), 6-4.
Pierson’s final match in the consolation of winner’s bracket against Lisa Keller of Cardinal Stritch was abandoned due to rain.